Interview: Singer/songwriter Danni X discusses her debut single, “LU$T”

Ethereal, haunting and groove-ridden are just some of the words to describe the music of singer/songwriter Danni Eckstein (Danni X). A poet and vocalist all her life, the beautiful songstress first made waves when the group she fronted was voted “Best Band in Jacksonville, Florida”. This led Danni to a development deal with MySpace Records, which was unexpectedly shelved when the label went under.

After relocating to Los Angeles, Danni X has now released her sexually-charged debut single, “LU$T”. A hook-laden, double entendre song that channels her creative passion while tastefully bridging elements of rock and electronic dance music (EDM).

“LU$T” is also a preview of Danni X’s upcoming EP, which will be released on July 27. AXS recently spoke with her about “LU$T” and more in this new interview.

AXS: How would you describe your sound?

Danni X: My music brings elements of rock and EDM together. Although I appreciate the new sounds and certainty that’s involved with creativity, a lot of the emotion and raw authenticity is missing from electronic music these days. My vision of combining rock and EDM takes the listener on an authentic, musical journey

AXS: Who are some of your musical influences?

DX: Lyrically, I’m inspired by classic rock and bands like Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and Red Hot Chili Peppers. I’m also influenced by the modern rock of No Doubt and The Cranberries. Bishop Briggs is another major influence. She’s bringing rock back in a cool way. As far as EDM goes, I’m influenced by artists like Hippie Sabotage and ODESZA.

AXS: Where do you draw inspiration for your music?

DX: It’s random and all depends on the song. Sometimes, I’ll be driving in my car or shopping in a grocery store and an idea will hit me that inspires a melody. Other times, I’ll bring a bunch of lyrics into a session and work with my producer to create songs out of them.

AXS: Where did the idea for your new single, “LU$T” originate?

DX: I wrote the main chorus for that song year ago, and a lot of it came from my Catholic upbringing. I grew up in Catholic school and was the girl who was always questioning. I’ve always written about contradicting the things I was taught because it registered with my own personal story. I finished the song after moving to Los Angeles. The contradicting nature and whole concept of “The City of Angels” felt really cool to me. The idea of the seven deadly sins and the faults of mankind also fascinated me, and lust was the number one cardinal sin. That’s how it came about.

Click here to listen to “LU$T”.

AXS: Let’s discuss another song on your upcoming EP, “Shallow”. What can you tell me about it?

DX: “Shallow” is about a brief relationship I had with someone in the music industry. I had become enamored with this person and the façade he had put on. After some time went by, I realized that all he was doing was trying to win over my affection with money and other things. There was no deep connection. Everything was on the surface. One night, I went on an awful date with him and went home early. I knew I had a session the next day but woke up at four in the morning because I couldn’t sleep. I started writing. I went into the session later that day all fired up by the situation. My producer and I ended up writing and recording the entire song that day.

Read the rest of my
Inteview with Danni X by Clicking Here!

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Neapolitan Sky

What are you reading this weekend? For a limited time, you can get my new suspense/thriller for just $1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Dreams of becoming a professional writer are abruptly put on hold for college student Nica Mitchell following the unexpected death of her mother and her father’s cancer diagnosis. Forced to return home when he’s hospitalized after encountering a near death experience, Nica learns that her father has been keeping a dark secret. Something in between the stages of life and death that, when revealed, will change her life forever.

Five-Star Amazon Reviews: 

“Don’t be taken in by the serene title, suggestive of an Italianate summer sojourn (which I theorize pays homage to a haunting Avett Brothers tune). Nothing is as it seems; so don’t plan on getting comfortable, or settling in. Just when you think you can anticipate what comes next, because you detect some familiar Serling-esque patterns in character development, this gifted writer repeatedly surprises and refreshes with equal portions of rapid-fire suspense and unforeseen plot twists.”

“It’s hard to believe that James Wood was able to tell a story with so many twists, turns and somersaults in 151 pages. No fluff, just a well-told tale that takes you to places that will blow you away. A perfect book for a beach weekend.”

“AMAZING! I connected to the characters immediately. I would have to say by far one of the best novellas I have ever read. Once I started, I had to finish. Would recommend to everyone!”

“I totally enjoyed reading “Neapolitan Sky”. With colorful and vivid descriptions James brought his characters to life. From beginning to end the suspense builds until the unexpected ending.”

Click here for more information and to order.

Interview: Savannah Outen discusses her new single, ‘Sad In The Summer’

 

Photo: Tina Smith

Savannah Outen took a bit of a break to find herself both as an artist and person, but has returned stronger than ever. The beautiful songstress’ brand new single, “Sad In The Summer” is evidence of that. It’s an ethereal, haunting and self-reflecting track about letting go of the past and finding your freedom. With a new-found sound and an infectious, summery groove single, Outen proves that her brief hiatus was worth the wait.

AXS recently spoke with Savannah Outen about “Sad In The Summer” and more in this new interview.

AXS: How would you describe your style of music?

Savannah Outen: It’s a pop, soulful and rhythmic mixture. I look up to artists who are great storytellers, so I make sure that my lyrics are very conversational and nostalgic. I love singers like Christina Aguilera and Jessie J who can belt out and sing crazy melodies. I love to capture all of that in my songs.

AXS: What inspired your new single, “Sad In The Summer”?

SO: I wrote that song last year with Colin Dieden (The Mowgli’s). It’s about a casual relationship I was in with a guy that was constantly going back and forth. I feel everyone has been in a situation they know is toxic, and one that you need to get out of. It’s only a matter a time before you finally find the exit sign and are able to free yourself. “Sad In The Summer” is my anthem for that, and in writing the song I found a new sense of freedom.

AXS: What’s your songwriting process like?

SO: It changes every day, and that’s the best thing about it. I really like the visual of working from a title and for “Sad In The Summer,” I could already see the artwork and music video. It’s also a vibe thing. I wrote the song with one of my closest friends, and then an incredible producer literally took the song to another level. It all magically worked out. There was something in the room that was bigger than any of us.

Click here to listen to “Sad In The Summer”

AXS: Is “Sad In The Summer” part of a larger project you’re working on?

SO: Right now, we’re releasing one single at a time. An EP may be the goal at the end of the year, but I’m having fun just releasing singles. I’ve also seen the final edit of the video for “Sad In The Summer”, which will be ready to go soon. I’m so excited to share it.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Savannah Outen by clicking here!

Ronzworld: Artist Ron Williams Discusses His Unique, Hand-Painted Guitars

Photo: Kate Page

If you’ve attended a rock festival recently, chances are you’ve seen one of Ron Williams’ striking, hand-painted guitars.

Founded by Williams, Ronzworld Guitars are all painted by the artist himself, without the use of stickers, prints or wraps. Each design is original and done entirely by hand, which means that no two instruments are exactly alike.

Williams and his art made its debut at Summer NAMM 2016 and caught on like wildfire, leading Williams to partner up with leading manufacturers like ESP, PRS, Ibanez, Dean and Fender, among others.

This summer, and in partnership with The Music Experience, Ronzworld will launch the Official Festival Guitars Experience at a number of rock, alternative and country music festivals.

At each festival date, Ron and The Music Experience will raffle/auction off a limited number of official, one of-a-kind-festival guitars hand-painted by Williams. Fans can enter by making a donation to the current partnering charity for that festival date.

Guitar World recently spoke with Williams about his passion for painting guitars and more in this new interview.

How did you get into painting guitars? Was a career in art and music something you aspired to growing up?

I always played guitar as a kid and had bands when I was in high school. I really love the art and style of the Charvels and Jacksons from the Eighties. I also loved to draw and actually went to college for art. After graduation, I got a job in advertising doing storyboards. That led to a 24-year career as a creative director in New York City. I was eventually transferred to Florida about five years ago.

At the time, my family still lived in upstate New York. So, I was living in an apartment in Florida until we could move everyone down. My office was close to my apartment, and at night I had nothing to do. It was then that I decided to take up drawing again, but I discovered the art store in town couldn’t get an illustration board like the one I used to draw on. I started thinking to myself, “All right. What am I going to paint?” Lo and behold, I saw a Jackson sitting in the corner of the apartment and decided to put some art on it. It came out great and I found a guy who could do a clear coat finish for me. I remember after I got the guitar back, it was the coolest thing in the world. So, it went from being something that I did out of boredom to what I’m doing today.

What kind of mediums do you use for painting?

It’s all acrylic. I started out using a paint brush, but found that the finish you use to seal the guitar turns bumps into a white haze. I now use acrylic paint pens. They look like magic markers but flow acrylic paint. There’s no edge because the paint goes on very thin, and the finish comes out ridiculously cool.

Where do you draw inspiration for your work?

When I’m showcasing my own personality, I paint what I like. And since my favorite genre is heavy metal, skulls and tribal art are the aesthetic leaning I appreciate. But if it’s a commissioned project, I take the customer’s ideas into consideration. The body style of the guitar also helps out a bit too. There’s not a lot of “canvas space” on your typical standard Strat, and especially if you put a Floyd Rose on it. You get a little more space and can detail more on guitars like Explorers and Deans.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Ron Williams by Clicking Here!

‘And Justice For None’: Zoltan Bathory Discusses Five Finger Death Punch’s Latest Album

And Justice For None is the seventh full-length studio album from Five Finger Death Punch. The release marks a new chapter in the band’s history, after the band was forced to overcome internal tensions, along with a well-documented legal battle with their label, Prospect Park.

Produced by Kevin Churko (Ozzy Osbourne, Disturbed), the new album features driving rock staples like “Sham Pain,” and “Fake,” as well as a smashing cover of The Offspring’s “Gone Away”. With inspired riffs and muscular grooves, the band maintains their signature identity while pushing themselves into new musical territory.

In addition to the new album, Five Finger Death Punch will embark on a co-headlining tour with Breaking Benjamin this summer.

Guitar World recently spoke with Zoltan Bathory, the band’s guitarist, about And Justice For None and more in this new interview.

What made the band decide to name the new album And Justice For None?

We were in a lawsuit with the label, and it was a long process. The thing is, no one really wins a lawsuit. So, when we were finished, ‘And justice for none’ was a line that Ivan [Moody, the band’s frontman] dropped. We started thinking and decided to call the album that because it embodied the situation we went through. It’s also a nod to Metallica and we knew it would also piss off the online trolls [laughs]. It was perfect!

How does the new album differ from some of the band’s previous work?

Every record is different and a time capsule of where you are at the moment. This one is a little more diverse. We always write about what’s socially, politically or personally relevant. It embodies every shade of music and lyrical emotion that’s happened to the band over the last few years.

What was the writing process like?

I’m really into film scores and descriptive writing that creates a picture in your head or tells a story. What we do is always write the music first, and the music has to have a vibe or paint some kind of picture. Once we’re all satisfied, we give it to Ivan to work on lyrics. He’ll ask us what we were thinking about when we wrote it and base the lyrics off that. When you create a vibe and the vocal catches it, it’s a double whammy in songwriting and adds another layer of emotion.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Zoltan Bathory by Clicking Here!

Interview: Saxophonist Michael Lington discusses his new album, ‘Silver Lining’

Saxophonist, Michael Lington is one of the world’s top contemporary jazz artists. He also has an incomparable knack for combining hook-laden melodies with soul-infused grooves. Lington’s tenth solo album, Silver Lining, continues this trend; particularly with the leadoff track, “City Life,” which tastefully captures the seductive charm of big-city living, and features a tasty guitar solo by Dave Stewart (Eurythmics).

Produced by Barry Eastmond, Silver Lining also features Grammy Award-winning artists Ray Parker Jr. on the track, “M-Funk” and soul legend William Bell’s inspired vocal on the Curtis Mayfield classic, “People Get Ready.” Other standouts include the funky, “Break The Ice,” and Dorian Holley lending vocals on the classic Tower of Power hit, “So Very Hard To Go.”

Silver Lining will be released on Friday, June 8, which coincides with Lington performing as the opening act for the legendary, Barry Manilow.

AXS recently spoke with Lington about Silver Lining and more in this exclusive new interview.

AXS: How would you describe Silver Lining in terms of its sound and maybe how it relates to some of your previous work?

Michael Lington: It’s an organic soul-jazz record. We recorded it all live in the studio so we could get the right feel and really vibe with each other. This is the third album I’ve done this way, and it produces a more fun and live feel. Almost as if you were at a concert.

AXS: What’s your songwriting process like?

ML: Every song has its own story. Most of the songs were written as a collaboration with my producer, Barry Eastmond, and myself. Sometimes, we get together and write and other times it starts with him sending me a little idea or groove and I put a melody on it. Then we continue writing until we feel it all makes sense. It’s a very collaborative process.

AXS: As an instrumentalist, how do you determine what title to give for a song?

ML: Song titles are hard for me and are usually the last part of the process. What I normally do is sit down, usually with a glass of wine, and listen to each song and really discover what it makes me feel like and somehow, a title appears.

AXS: Let’s discuss a few tracks from Silver Lining. What can you tell me about “City Life”?

AXS:City Life” was one of the first songs written for Silver Lining and sets the tone for the overall feel of the album. I remember we had just finished mixing the song twice, but still felt that there was something missing. That’s when I came up with the idea of asking Dave Stewart to do his guitar magic on it. We also added a grand piano. As soon as I heard these elements, I knew I had found what I was looking for.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Michael Lington by Clicking Here.

Interview: The Outfield’s Tony Lewis releases ‘Into The Light’ – first single from debut solo album ‘Out of The Darkness’

Out of The Darkness is the debut solo album from The Outfield’s vocalist/bassist, Tony Lewis, and the first since the passing of his friend and longtime collaborator, John Spinks, in 2014. The Outfield took the ’80s by storm with their 1985 debut, Play Deep, and songs like “Your Love,” “All The Love” and “Say It Isn’t So”. More than thirty years later, “Your Love” is still featured prominently in compilation albums and commercials as well as streamed nearly a million times a week.

Lewis’ new album is rich with the spirit of The Outfield, particularly on songs like the catchy first single, “Into The Light” and the colorful “Here And Now”, but that’s to be expected. The Outfield’s signature sound is ingrained in Lewis’ DNA. But there’s a new magic in Out Of The Darknessthat’s undeniable. Perhaps its because Lewis showcases other strings in his musical bow as songwriter, producer, guitarist and drummer. A process Lewis himself says felt very natural. Regardless, Out of The Darkness is not only a nod to the past, it’s also welcoming wish to the future.

Out Of The Darkness will be released on Friday, June 29.

In addition to the new album, Lewis will also be part of this summer’s Retro Futura tour, which kicks off in Atlanta, GA on July 11.

AXS recently spoke with Tony Lewis about Out Of The Darkness, The Outfield, touring and more in this exclusive new interview.

AXS: How did the Out Of The Darkness album originate?

Tony Lewis: Basically, I had a four year hiatus following the passing of John. It threw me sideways. I couldn’t even pick up a guitar for a few years. Gradually, I started recording again and put some backing tracks together. I was struggling with lyrics when my wife, Carol, offered to help. She’s a great storyteller and most of her lyrics fit well. Everything just fell into place. But I didn’t set out to make an album. I just wanted it to be a body of work. They were songs I really believed in.

AXS: Let’s discuss a few tracks from the album, beginning with the first single, “Into The Light.” What can you tell me about it?

TL: The line “out of the darkness” means my venture back into the music industry after a four year hiatus. It’s about coming out of that dark period after losing John and getting back into the industry. After being known primarily as a singer in The Outfield, I wanted to re-emerge as a solo artist and show that have more than one string to my bow. It’s taken a long time but its something I really enjoy doing.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Tony Lewis by Clicking Here.