Real Illusion's slogan is 'Play what you like!'... Well, we surely like what they play ! Discover this Italian rock band who's just released its 3rd album, W&B Streets, filled with pure energy and delicious guitar riffs. We're blown away!
Who is Real Illusion and what is the story of the band?
Real illusion was born in November 2004 with Davide Fontanel (voice and guitar), Diego Bozza (Guitar), Alessandro Mirone (Bass) and Paola Sivelli (Drums). Hey!! This year we make TEN YEARS!! Wwooooohh!!
You are a 100% rock band. What are your main influences?
We have many influences...’cause everyone listens to different genres like Foo fighters, Manic Street Preacers, Tool, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Biffy Clyro, Muse...
If we pressed play on your music player, what song would we be hearing?
Mmmmhhh....a Real Illusion’s song!! ;-)
Paola, you are the only girl in the band. What is it like to deal with 3 other boys?
It’s wonderful to deal with men... They are simple and direct! After playing with girls surely I’ll never come back!
How is the work divided between each of you (lyrics, composition, recording...)?
Paola and Davide usually write the lyrics. Each song is created in the rehearsal room by everyone of us... For example, if Diego has a nice riff or chorus or some chords, we start from there. We’ve a personal studio run by Davide to record and the cd’s graphic is curated by Diego.
W&B Streets is your 3rd album. Is it different from the previous ones? Was the creative process also different?
Yes... It’s different. The recording is cleaner and the songs are easier to hear. In the previous ones, we put many riffs for each song, time changes and also more dual voices.... This album is more smooth ;-)
Can you tell us more about this album? Why is it called like that, does it have a theme, a message (lyrics etc.) ?
The meaning of this album is the choice. For this reason it’s called white and black streets! Every day each of us is faced with constant decisions... It’s not true that the black street is necessary bad and the white one is necessary good... We take the one that seems right to ourselves. The cover is a picture made by Gloria DeVitis, an artist from Lecce. We met her during a trip to Puglia the last summer. We discovered that she wanted to say through her works of art the same things that we wanted to say with our music. So we combined the things!
When was the last time you've performed live? Do you any live experience or anecdotes you would like to share ?
Fortunately we play quite frequently, at least once a month.
Our slogan is “Play what you like!”
If you had the opportunity to choose any venue in the whole world, to give your biggest concert ever, where would it be ?
Wembley Stadium.... too much to ask??
Last question: what are your future musical plans ?
We want to continue to follow our slogan and at the moment we decided to have an experience abroad in October (in the weekend of 3, 4 and 5), precisely in the Czech Republic. Our worst problem is that we play original music sung in English in Italy, where people seem to appreciate only tribute and cover bands in addition to being a few to consider English as a second language. So, we try to play abroad and we’ll see the reactions of a new audience.
At the moment we try to compose songs with a different sound!
It all starts with an acoustic guitar, a soft and charming voice and sincere lyrics... With a heartfelt and truthful folk music, Anne Davis shares her own stories and inner thoughts. Her first album, Letters, Prayers and Journal Entries, reminds us why we all love music in the first place: for the emotions that it can arouse and the feelings that it can convey.
Hello Anne ! First of all, can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your story and your relationship with music?
Hi…sure…I’m a folk-alternative singer/songwriter who has actually been writing songs since before I could even write…. As a little girl, songs would just come to me and I would sing and play my tennis racket guitar and give concerts to my Siamese cat, Feather, and our Greyhound, Zip… They always seemed happy to listen and I was sure glad to have an audience. Sometimes, I would get behind the piano (before I took any lessons) and would bang away and come up with songs… I’m not sure, at that time, that my family appreciated my songwriting pullings because they couldn’t hear what I heard in my head. Later, I did actually take piano lessons for five years, but I just couldn’t finish any songs sitting behind the piano… It just wasn’t a natural fit like the guitar was… As soon as I picked up the guitar that my aunt bought for me as a graduation present from high school, and I began really teaching myself chords and how to play from a Mel Bay guitar book, immediately songs began to flow… And even as a small child, music could move me to tears. There’s always been a really deep connection to music for me early on.
You're a female folk artist. While listening to your music, one can't help but think about other female acts such as Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morrissette or Jewel. Are these kind of artists part of your influences? What other types of music do you get your inspiration from?
Sheryl Crow is definitely a favorite for me…. I’ve been listening to her since she released her first big album “Tuesday Night Music Club”... I’ve been listening to Amy Grant since I was in 7th grade and her music has had quite an impact on me... She’s always been so authentic in her writing and I really connected with her instantly. I remember when the Indigo Girls came onto the music scene when I was a junior in high school and I was completely blown away by their harmonies and brilliant songwriting. When I was in college, I remember discovering Mary Chapin Carpenter when her album “Come On, Come On” came out and I was so blown away by her lyrics…still to this day, there are songs of hers that always make me tear up like “I Am A Town” or “Only A Dream”… Now, for me personally…that is songwriting at its best. And of course, I can make a little (or long) list of other artists/bands that I’m into…or been into…like…Sam Phillips, Patty Griffin, Peter Bradley Adams, Lifehouse, Mindy Smith, The Fray, Vertical Horizon, Damien Rice, Julie Miller, Shawn Colvin, David Wilcox, James Taylor, Garrison Starr, Lisa Marie Presley, Jars of Clay, K’s Choice, Sarah Bettens, Jesus Culture, Fernando Ortega, Gillian Welch, Anthony Skinner, Nanci Griffith, early Tracy Chapman, early Counting Crows, Emmylou Harris’s “Wrecking Ball” CD, Goo Goo Dolls, Martin Smith, Maura O’Connell, Daughtry, some Coldplay… and the list goes on and on. What usually sucks me in is a strong melody, well-crafted lyrics, and unique vocals… I like raspy vocals when I can find them. The lead singer of K’s Choice, Sarah Bettens, completely blows me away vocally and I think she and her brother are great songwriters as well… I’m sure I’ve left out other meaningful artists… but, these just happen to come to mind as I type.
What is your current favorite tune/album?
Hmmm… that’s tricky… I’m currently listening to Jars of Clay’s latest release “Inland” and a mixed CD of Pink (just recently saw her in concert)… Before that, Mary Chapin Carpenter’s CD “Songs From The Movie”… Listening to that CD is literally an experience… and before that I was replaying Lisa Marie Presley’s release “Storm And Grace”… Next will probably be Sheryl Crow’s latest release that I can’t believe I’ve not gotten yet.
Your first album is called "Letters, Prayers, and Journal Entries". Just by reading the title, we have the feeling that this is a very personal project. So, do we really travel through your thoughts and your journal entries while listening to this piece?
Yes. There was someone who reviewed my CD when it came out and sort of laughed a little at the title I gave it…. which was fine—I’ve got a good sense of humor and can easily laugh at myself… but, you know, when I was coming up with a title, I kept thinking… people should know just what they’re getting…. that’s literally exactly what these songs are…most of them literally came right out of my journal entries where I was pouring my heart out…some are prayers…2 are wedding songs I wrote for friends...I have a song called “Dear Nanny” that is literally a letter I wrote… not sure if I uploaded that song or not to Jamendo… but, it’s some of what I wished I could have said to my dear Nanny, heartbroken from missing her so much…. just real life experiences that I’ve tried to put words to and articulate the best way I’ve known how.
Can you tell us more about the experience of crafting your first album? Was it a long journey, did you meet new people etc...
The putting together and pulling together of this CD was a really long journey… When I started, I could have never dreamed that it would take me as long as it did… It took 7 years… and when I think about it, it’s almost a miracle that it actually came to be. So many obstacles to overcome… and of course, working around people’s schedules who I really wanted to work with came into play… The biggest challenge though was that I came down with Mono/Epstein Barr Virus and could never get over it and finally learned that Lyme disease had been behind my being unable to recover… So, for so many of the vocals, had someone had a video camera of me in the studio, they would have seen me often propped up and struggling through low breath support because of the illness, often running fever… Sometimes I would schedule studio time to go in and do vocals and would have to cancel that day because I was too sick… Thankfully, I worked with a lot of really patient people who believed in me and stood by me… I had the honor to work with some really fantastic musicians… For this to be my debut CD and to get to work with some of the people I had the privilege to, it was just pretty amazing… a real blessing. And, gratefully, many were good friends of mine. For starters, I got to work with J.R. McNeeley who has won several Grammy’s for his excellence in mixing projects for many artists/bands… I felt he did an excellent job and had some great suggestions along the way… The only thing that made him cringe was that I insisted my vocals be pushed up to the front so that they could be front and center… He didn’t love that idea at all, being a true pro in his field, and knowing where things should really sit in the mix… but, he agreed to let me do my thing. My dear friend, Shane Martin, who played most of the guitar work was like the backbone of the project since he played on all but 3 songs…he’s been a studio musician for years and we go way back and I was really grateful to him for being committed to helping me pull this CD off… Sometimes he went without a paycheck and he made me believe it was because he believed in me… and has always been like a brother. Also, it was a true privilege to get to work with Ron de la Vega, who has played with Nanci Griffith for many years. I was so impressed with his ability to read a song and know what it wanted played on it and when and where… He contributed to the project playing upright acoustic bass and cello. That was really a highlight for me to get to work with him. I remember that I couldn’t believe I was actually getting to. And, another musician that comes to mind and pulls hard on my heart is Hunter Lee who played uilleann pipes on “The Crucible Song.” It was such an emotional studio experience for both of us, actually… He ended up tearing up and I literally quietly wept the whole time he was laying down his tracks… He really was able to connect to the song and gave me more than I even knew could be brought to the song. He really played from a deep place in his heart and it saddens me that he never got to hear the final mix of the song… When I was trying to locate him after my CD was released, it was then that I learned he had just prematurely passed away. It really broke my heart…such an amazing talent and gift he possessed…gone much too soon. Anyway, of course my CD liner notes include all the musicians who played on the project and I really feel indebted to them all… All brilliant musicians in their own right who gave 100 percent and then some.
The sound of this project is very pure, as if the whole recording was made with an acoustic and unplugged set. Was it important for you to keep this "raw" aspect?
Musically, my goal was to ONLY use real, live instruments and my rule was no fabricated sounds whatsoever… I wanted to give a true organic experience from beginning to end, while recording it all with professional studio musicians and in top studios in Nashville, TN… I even used a little out of tune baby grand piano on “Until That Day” because I wanted it to be authentic and that’s what we had at the time to use... Though it was definitely more expensive to go this route and probably contributed to the long amount of time it took me to finish my CD, I felt it was worth it. I really felt the music needed to match the lyrics… and they were vulnerable, raw, “stripped back for all to see” type of lyrics… I was baring my soul, so I felt the music needed to be as real as I was being willing to be as an artist and human being.
This album is also very soothing, relaxing, almost as if the listening session was some sort of therapy. Also, the lyrics you write are very relatable. Is this the kind of experience you're looking for your audience to have with your music?
Well, I suppose journaling is therapeutic in many ways… It helps me process life going on around me… and most of my songs did come from my journal entries… So, there’s that aspect. And, I’ve always felt like my songwriting and music has been my own outlet to respond to life and one of my ways to work it out… I think I have long felt that if I would be willing to be transparent and authentic with my lyric writing, then others would also feel that same freedom. You know, life’s hard… and it can get really difficult… and I think it helps to just know you’re not alone… I’ve said this before, but I feel we’re all waiting on someone to play our song…. a song that we feel we could have written ourselves because it’s right where we’re at in our lives at that moment… and we want to know there’s someone else out there who gets what we’re going through… Until I got sick and went through a really long chronic illness that just took over my life, I did not know just how dark dark can get… When you’re living out the “dark night of the soul” it helps to know someone else knows and understands what that feels like… so…yeah, I pretty much laid it all bare for whoever wanted to see… or listen. And, as a songwriter, you can only hope that your songs connect with listeners somewhere out there, after you’ve put your blood and guts into a song.
Have you already taken this material on the road, performed it live? How would you describe the live experience you've had so far?
Yes and no… I got to take a little mini tour only one time with just me and my guitar and was really touched by the response and really felt like I was connecting. Of course, after the CD was released, I played locally as much as I could and was always pleased by people’s reactions… but, I had planned it out in my head to do a full blown tour throughout the entire country and play in every coffeehouse… listening room… bar/pub… that I could find that would listen to me play… Unfortunately, because of my health, I had to lay that dream to rest… for now. That aspect has been heartwrenching because I just never dreamed I wouldn’t get to do some touring after the CD was released. I had big plans on doing so that I’ve never gotten to yet live out. So, we’ll see what the future holds.
I know it's hard but if you had to choose one song from this album, which one would it be? Why?
Gosh… that really is a tough question for me… because each song comes with a story and a certain set of memories attached to it… So, if I had to choose, maybe it would be between “Where The Roads Cross” and “No, I’m Not Going Anywhere”… Perhaps, since I’ve gotten more feedback on “Where The Roads Cross” I might choose it… It took me years to write that song… And I remember feeling a sense of relief once the song was written and finished… and I felt like I had not failed the song and felt I had written it like it wanted to be written, if that makes any sense… And there have been many people who’ve written to me about this one song… how it got them through a challenging time or how they really related to the lyrics at that moment in their lives… And the most meaningful story in relation to this song is when a girl (who I still stay in touch with) shared with me that that one song got her through an entire semester of college and she believes kept her from killing herself… that some days, that was the only thing that got her through…was listening to “Where The Roads Cross”… So, I think meaningful stories like that where the song has really made a difference for someone makes me lean towards choosing that one. It’s really humbling to hear stories like that, because I know I had little to do with people just happening to stumble across that song right when they needed to hear it… I think Providence may come into play here…I sure don’t believe in accidents.
What are your future musical plans?
Well, this is sort of a tricky question since I’m still in the recovery process with my health… but… with that said… my hopes are that I will get to begin playing out more and eventually finally get to take my music on the road and actually tour with it… And I have SO many unfinished songs just waiting for me to return to them to finish what I once started… So, my hope is to finish a lot of half written songs and begin new ones and at long last, return to the studio to record my second CD release. These things are at the very top of my “to do” list…. Music has always been such a huge part of my life, so I can’t imagine it not always being so…. it’s just a part of who I am. And, it’s what I’ve always done for as far back as I can remember…so, I’m hopeful about the future.
Nicolas Falcon's music is a true guilty pleasure: we can't get enough! And why would we? This self-taught musician has the talent to write witty lyrics, find catchy melodies that just make you want to hum along to, all the while managing to keep it all simple and unpretentious. His Cuban roots and soft voice traveled from his native America to China, with a 4-year halt in Italy. The result? A warm and authentic international folk music. So, just get on board- I'm sure the replay button won't mind the continuous hits.
Hey Nicolas! To begin, can you tell our readers who Nicolas Falcon is & what is his story?
Well, my story is I was born in Houston, TX to Cuban immigrants, grew up in Miami, FL, went to college in Gainesville, FL, lived in Philly for 3 years, Milan, Italy for 4 and currently live in Shanghai, China.
How did you start making music? Was it something you've always done, or was there a trigger moment in your life ?
I've always liked singing, but I didn't start playing an instrument till I was about 12. My dad had bought me drumsticks when I was about 8 or 9 and taught me some paradiddles. I thought it was fun, but never thought I'd actually put them to any use, till one day after our weekly Sunday bowling he led me into a drum shop and showed me a basic beat. I struggled with it for a couple of hours. I went back the next day and had it down. I really got into the drums so my dad got me a used kit shortly after that. I was happy just playing the drums. Around the same time I was discovering all this great music from the 60's and 70's. I don't remember why I picked up the guitar a couple of years later. I think it was my mom's idea. Anyway, I found myself really wanting a guitar and not really knowing why. I taught myself some chords out of the back of a book I found and started writing my own songs before I really learned how to play any covers. The next year I had the same inexplicable urge to get a multitrack recorder and start recording my songs. Then I got a keyboard shortly after that in more or less the same kind of whim and the one-man band was pretty complete. Since then I haven't been able to stop writing and recording.
How would you describe yourself, from a strictly musical point of view? (genres, influences, musical tastes and background, favorite instrument, etc...)
Genres: international folk, jazz, manouche, indie, blues. I'm not really good with genres. With the exception of very generic stuff, it's all music to me. I know I really like minor scales and unpredictable chords change. I can't really get into anything proggy or repetitive.
Influences: The Pixies, The Violent Femmes, Morphine, Portishead, Antonio Carlos Jobim, The Cure, Jacques Brel, The Beatles, Django Reinhardt, The Velvet Underground, STP, The Strokes, Radiohead, The Brazilian Girls, Buena Vista Social Club, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Tom Waits, Elliott Smith and Claude Debussy among many others.
The instrument I have the most fun playing is probably the drums. The instrument I couldn't live without is the guitar. In fact, I need to go buy a guitar cause I got rid of the ones I had when I moved to China a couple of weeks ago.
You're a singer, a musician but also a songwriter. How would you describe your lyrics, and what is the inspiration behind them?
I don't know that I would try to describe my lyrics. They're quite varied for one. I have serious stuff and stupid hokey stuff too. It depends on my mood and what I've got going on in my life when I write it. I've been writing for a pretty long time, so a lot of it depends on when I wrote it too. I'd leave this one to my listeners. I'm curious to know what they think, assuming they listen to and/or understand them (I know in Italy a lot of people didn't).
Can you tell us more about your debut, self-titled album? (You can listen to it here).
I recorded it in Philadelphia after losing my job. I had written the songs between 2004 and 2008. It was just a selection of the songs I thought were catchy enough, or that people had told me were worth recording. I recorded most of it at home, then went into a local studio to record the vocals and have it mixed and mastered. I'm not really happy with how it came out, but then again I'm not perfectly happy with any of my recordings and wouldn't mind redoing most of them.
Who are the Featherweights that accompany you in this EP? How did this pairing happen? Is there much difference in the creative process between making a record on your own, and being with a band?
The Featherweights are Marco 'Mamo' Betti (drums) and Francesco Palmisano (keys). They are two Milanese guys I met through a friend of mine whose also a musician. We played together for about 2 years. There are several differences between this and my solo stuff. For starters, Francesco added a lot of clever bits I could never play on my own. Then, Mamo's drumming style is quite different from mine, which gives the songs a different feel. We recorded the base live, overdubbing just the lead guitar, vocals and other little embellishments (like the squeaking rubber pig in Pervert) which I think inevitably make for an entirely different feel from multi tracking everything or almost everything at home alone.
What would be your best advice on how to create a song (writing, composing, recording)?
I don't know if I would give advice on this. I know when I try too hard or at the wrong time it comes off contrived and I hate it. I guess the best stuff comes about spontaneously, then you have to edit it and work out all the rough edges. I think art in general is just taking something visceral and refining it so that the conscious more rational mind doesn't find it commonplace or stupid. But I have a degree in Engineering so don't take it from me; not that I 'd make a good Engineer, but I'm probably even less of an expert on art.
There are songs out there that are perfect for weddings, or funerals, or dance floors. If you were to imagine the perfect scenery to match your music, what would it be?
My stuff is definitely not perfect for dance floors. I know that. It might be interesting to hear The Marrying Kind playing at a wedding. This is a really tough question. I would be interested in having people who are into my music answer this one.
Do you have any live experience you would like to share ? Your favorite performance, or maybe a particular/funny anecdote ?
My favorite performance was in Hamburg just off the Reeperbahn at a place called Hasenschaukel. It is (or was-not sure it's still there) an awesome venue. I went there two summers in a row: first alone, then with the Featherweights when we did our little tour of Germany. The audience was very quiet and listened very closely. Whenever anyone would try to talk, we'd hear "Shhh…" They really got into the music. Street playing in Berlin was fun. We got an unopened bottle of Ballantines as a tip from one person, which a Canadian homeless person drank most of before passing out by us in Neukölln. We were harassed by all kinds of strange/interesting characters and I kept a journal if you want more details. I know I'm forgetting the best one right now. I'd have to go read through it.
You've already released one LP (your debut album) and several EPs (Falcon & the Featherweights, Songs from the Aaahtic, With the Aaahhchestra -with the band Keyboard Rebel...). Can we expect a new full-lentgh album in the near future?
I have too much music and I'm dying to record and release all of it. I just need to get a band together, or get settled in properly in Shanghai with my recording setup. I have a couple of songs I've put up on my soundcloud which will be on my next 9-song album. I have like 10 I want to get down right after that. So not 1, but at least 2 albums are on the way as soon as I can get them recorded properly.
Nicolas Falcon - Cyanide Surprise live for InMyKitchen
Heavy guitars, frenetic rhythms, catchy melodies and monsters: this is all you'll find on this explosive EP, Songs About Monsters, by Those Things. This Canadian band, lead by a female singer, serves a punchy punk rock sound... and we just can't get enough!
Who are “Those Things” ? What’s the band’s story ? How did you all meet?
Carly: I firstly met Jeff while working with him at a rock n roll themed hair salon. Jeff's barber station was right behind my desk, so we got to know each other mostly as acquaintances, but when the opportunity to play a fundraiser came up, that's when we really got to know each other through our shared love for performing. We went through a bunch of hectic stuff together like jerk bosses & reality TV shows, which only strengthened our friendship and gave us some fuel for the fire. I knew Ken before I met Jeff, I always thought that Ken was such a professional and talented fellow. It was a excellent surprise that he wanted to play with us!
How is the work divided in your band ? Do you each have specific tasks for the creation process (lyrics, composition etc.) ?
Jeff: I usually bring in the initial lyrics and a basic melody or guitar riff, everyone puts their stamp on it, Ray pushes it forward with his crazy drumming and Ken records it! Carly: I like to add my pizazz onto Jeff's compositions, adding prosody as well as sometimes acting as critic. I am a songwriter as well, but Jeff writes often and well, so it's nice for me to be able to take the passenger seat sometimes, and just let him do his thing.
Carly, you are the only girl in the band. How does it feel like working with men only ?
Carly: Well, when it comes to hair and makeup, I'm on my own. I am a big fan of my male bandmates, I feel pretty backed up both musically and also say in a place like a rowdy bar. It's pretty common for drunk slobbery dudes to try and kiss pretty ladies, and I've been grateful for my big brothers being around, although I think Ken would probably let it happen and laugh his head off.
And guys, do you think that having a female lead singer makes a difference and brings something more to the band ?
Jeff: Absolutely, she brings a perspective and energy to the band that we just can’t bring.
You music is undoubtedly lively, mixing catchy melodies, heavy guitars and an intense rhythm. In your new album, Songs About Monsters, you never rest for a minute. Where do you get all this energy ? Do you also perform/record/write slower songs?
Jeff: I guess the energy comes from excitement for the music. I love playing my guitar and I can’t help but get hyper and once that starts there’s really no stopping it! We have some slower songs too, we’re hoping to put out an EP soon that will feature some of them!
Carly: I let the feel of the music guide me. The rhythms get me all pumped up, as well as the subject matter. When I'm singing about learning how to drive for the first time in "Another Something's Wrong Song", I am channelling the anxiety and excitement of putting your foot down on the petal, and potentially losing control.
Tell us more about the album. Who are the monsters you sing about?
Jeff: Well, the main theme of the songs on the album is that we are all monsters in our own way. Usually we don’t realize it until it’s too late and the damage is done. We all haunt someone, somewhere, much like we’re all haunted ourselves.
Is there any meaning behind the album’s artwork ?
Jeff: I like the art because when you first look at it, you may not notice what’s really going on... it takes a few seconds to realize that there’s something creepy in the eyes, and that again goes back to the idea that we all have something that may not be noticeable at first, that takes time to see. This could be a good or a bad thing!
Are there any particular messages you would like to convey through this album, and through your music in general?
Carly: Through music I have a platform for my voice, and what I see and feel. Songs about Monsters touches on the afterlife, as well as the chaos and mysticism we experience in this life. I feel a certain level of shamanic energies working through me when I am exposing and delving into those places, which can be invigorating, and it may sound out there, but healing.
I am pretty sure your music goes to a whole other dimension when played live. Do you have any live memories or anecdotes you would like to share ?
Carly: I showed up right on time to play our last show, and Jeff had started tuning my guitar for me like a nice friend, when the D tuning peg flew off. So there was a choice to make. I could just sing or … find a guitar somewhere! After searching the bar and talking to a bunch of people who have no idea who I was, one dude pointed me to a flailing arm in the crowd, he was the owner of a black Strat with a Canadian flag strap on it. Not my typical choice of style, but she played beautifully for me.
What about upcoming live shows ? Anything planned ?
Jeff: Our next show will be the vinyl release party. It will be on May 23rd at the Railway Club here in Vancouver, BC!
If we took a look in you musical library, what would we find ?
Carly: The Slits, Neko Case, Black Mountain, Woody Guthrie and lots of indie music.
Jeff: I’m really all over the map, I just love a good melody and of course interesting guitar playing. My favorite bands are actually the more obscure local bands I saw growing up, like Wagbeard and the Smalls from Alberta, Canada. When I saw those guys making music I realized I could do it too!