Sugar High features intimate profiles of popular musicians, producers, and people that work for them. Host Danny Carissimi and his band of musician friends push artists at the forefront of creativity to tell the real story of what it's like to live a life in music. Past episodes include Walk The Moon, 311, Beyonce's producer Rey Reel, The Griswolds, Lucius, Com Truise, Neon Indian, Aer, and more.
Nick Anderson is a young dude from Wellsville, NY. So young in fact that at one point in our interview he asked if I was mad at millennials (I am one)... I overlooked the slight because he's a superb conversationalist. In the last few years Nick's gone from the Costco stockroom guy to headlining tours around the country. Go Nick. I found the story so inspiring that I was able to forgive him for thinking I'm a Gen Xer.
Well my friends since it's the end of the year I thought I'd make an episode about one of my favorite artists/albums of the year... Bedouine. Bedouine, also known as Azniv Korkejian is a Syrian born, Saudi Arabia raised, American aged, singer song writer based in Los Angeles. I know, it's a lot. Prior to conducting this interview I saw that basically every journalist is obsessed with the fact that she's from Syria. And at first I didn't even want to discuss it but the story is so interesting I had to dive in. Azniv's personal perspective and journey are what this show is all about. She had an entirely different career and started writing songs because it felt right. You'll notice throughout the interview that she has a healthy skepticism about pursuing music full time even though she's receiving so much attention. I found this skepticism refreshing and the sign of an incredibly intelligent person. But she didn't do it alone. After meeting Los Angeles based musician and producer Gus Seyffert, the two decided to simply make something they were happy with. Eventually the project got signed and now Bedouine is on like every best of 2017 list. I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with Gus and Azniv and I think you will too. And for the love of god go listen to her record.
If you listen to this show you know that I've a lot of Aussie friends. We see eye to eye on things like pies, beautiful beaches, and vegemite. Through this network I heard about Megan Washington and grew to appreciate her music. At the suggestion of one of these friends I watched her now famous Ted Talk about having a stutter and it blew my mind. My dad grew up with a terrible stutter and used to talk about how challenging it was as a kid. Eventually he got over his, Meg never did, except when she sang… You see where this is going. Although it reads like the script to an inspirational movie I assure you it’s all real. A few months ago we were finally introduced at a show in LA and I just said, "You've got to come on the show!" She did and we had a great time. In 2009 Meg won multiple ARIA's (Australian Grammy) and firmly cemented herself in the Australian musical lexicon. But it hasn't all been easy. Achieving her goals came at a price and getting exactly what she wanted threw her into a near hopeless depression. Like a boss she dealt with it and is still selling out venues and making music. This September she performed multiple shows at the Sydney Opera house and finished her new record.
Trevor Hall is a spiritual man at peace with himself... I am not. After growing up in South Carolina Trevor moved out west and began a pretty insane musical journey. After getting signed to a deal by Geffen straight out of high school Trevor thought everything was going to be gravy. But when Geffen refused to release his two albums and dropped him from the label things got interesting. He toured his ass off, self released stuff, traveled to India, lived in an Ashram and never gave up. He's a cool guy and it's an inspiring story. He's also the only positive musician I've ever met... so that's weird. Enjoy!
Fil Thorpe-Evans is a bassist from the countryside in England. In 2012 he left school on a whim to join a pop punk band with his friends called Neck Deep. Five years later they're touring the world and selling thousands of tickets a night. In today's episode we dive into a trip to Florida. But not just any trip to Florida... a trip that changed helped blow their band up.
Dalton is not my normal guest for this show. He's a former boy band member that placed 3rd on American Idol and writes pop songs. But I like him... I like him a lot. He's a kid from a small town in Texas that was flown out to LA by Perez Hilton. After that it's a crazy ride and a lot of fun. Dalton speaks quite openly about his struggles with bipolar disorder and he's a refreshing and insightful person. I loved this. Enjoy!
In 2012 I was introduced to Kev Jones, Andrew Davie, and Joey Refsdal AKA Bears Den. We'd spend the next year and a half on the road together traveling the world. When I met them they were opening for Mumford and Sons, and playing tiny venues around Europe and the U.S. Since then they've become a solid indie draw in both continents. With shows starting to exceed 5,000 cap rooms in Europe, I figured it was time to sit down with them and discuss the journey. I've already recorded an episode with multi instrumentalist Kev. It's fantastic and a lot of fun because he's both of those things. This time it is the principal song writer, Andrew Davie, or Davie for his friends. I wanted to learn about his back story but I also took this as an opportunity to dig into song writing. Writer's intent is fascinating to me and I wanted to know more about what he writes what he does, and why he prefers to leave interpretation to the listener. Enjoy!
In 2009 Bethany Cosentino left college in NYC because she missed California. The move inspired her to contact an old friend named Bobb Brunno and together they started Best Coast. Within a year the band had essentially taken over the internet. You could not go to ANY blog without seeing something about Best Coast. Since then the duo have become a fixture in American indie music. They play large festivals, TV shows, and bought houses from the band alone. I've always found Best Coast's massive and completely unexpected success fascinating so I relished the opportunity to have Bethany on the show. She's a down to earth person with a great outlook on life. She also recommended that I go to therapy.
Hi friends. Every week on this show we talk to bands about what it's like to be a musician but now it's time to learn how those damn shows get booked! For the last 15 years Michelle Cable has managed, booked shows, and run a zine called Panache. She came up in the DIY / punk scene and built a tiny empire in independent music. Eventually she signed Mac Demarco and the rest is history. If you're interested in entrepreneurship, management, Mac Demarco, Ty Segall, or music in general, this one's for you.
After two successful albums Lucy Rose found herself at a crossroads. She was feeling uninspired by music and did not feel that a major label made sense for her anymore. So she packed her bags and flew to South America. During this trip she played gigs and stayed with fans she only knew from Twitter. It changed her whole perspective on music and helped her remember why she made music in the first place. We learn about where she's from, how she started making records, and why she felt the need to leave it all.
Frank Zummo is pretty damn good at the drums. For the last decade he's tirelessly pursued drumming. From his humble beginnings in Long Island, to being flown out by Motley Crue to fill in for Tommy Lee, Frank has somehow lived every drummers dream. But how? Why? How did a kid from New York join pop punk legends Sum 41 and win AP's drummer of the year? Frank is the best at something, and we can all learn from him. Enjoy.
Hello everyone I’m back at it this week with my new Liverpudlian friend Dan Croll. Prior to interviewing Dan I was in poor shape. Days of drinking, smoking, and brutal jet lag in London had brought my fragile American body to a breaking point… but then Dan arrived. We met backstage at Citadel festival in East London. I was on the brink of death, and Dan was pissed his set hadn’t lived up to his very high expectations. But after sitting in his air conditioned trailer for a few minutes we woke up and had one of the best conversations I’ve ever had. I found Dan at a crossroads in his musical career. Although his first album was successful his label deemed it not successful enough and dropped him from the roster. This sent the former Rugby standout into a funk that’s only now receding. Forced to confront his mental health, insecurities, and financial obligations, Dan wrote a record about becoming an adult that helped him push through a difficult period. He’s also a funny dude and hates cider. Either way I think you’ll enjoy. Love, -Danny
Hey everyone! I'm on the hunt for interviews right now in the United Kingdom. I'll be back next week with updates. The week after that will be a special one... most likely with a little guest named Best Coast. I have to catch my flight! Talk soon!
Alex and Sierra are singer song writers from Florida that won the last season of X Factor America. While they were known on that show for their covers, the duo took a deep dive into song writing and have become a legitimate touring act. I know nothing about the world of singing competitions. I know that Simon Cowell yells at people but that's about it. Turns out it's a fascinating world and one I'm glad I learned about.
For the last 20 years Tony Hoffer has been producing and mixing many of my favorite records. He's worked with Beck, The Kooks, Phoenix, Fitz and the Tantrums, Air, and many more. But what is a producer? What does it take to become one and how did a kid from Los Angeles go from cleaning toilets at a studio in San Francisco to producing 6 grammy nominated records? Tony reveals all and tells some damn good Phoenix stories in the process.
Dreamers are everywhere right now. I mean literally, they are everywhere because they are driving there in a van. They're on their way to being dubbed the hardest working band in 2017. We live in the same neighborhood and have a ton of mutual friends but scheduling an interview with them is nearly impossible because they're simply never home. But that's what they should be doing. Since releasing their debut record "This Album Doesn't Exist", Dreamers have toured relentlessly. But that's what you have to do. Due to their recent success and non stop touring they've found themselves at the precipice of much larger success and that's interesting to me. So I cruised over to lead singer Nick Wold's house in Silverlake to hang out and discuss what it's like to finally get a band off the ground, his Jazz training and where he goes from here.
Normally this show consists of in depth dissections of a musicians career, but today is a bit different. Over the years I've accrued some pretty epic tour stories. None more epic than the one you are about to hear. It involves a bassist in a famous band, the city of Tampa, and a desperate attempt to save a body part. This is a true story and one that I thought needed to be told. Thanks to Tim John of Australia's the Vines for sharing.
Since dropping out of high school in 2003 Jennifer Clavin has been involved with one cool buzzy punk project after another. Beginning as the singer for underground heroes Mika Miko, followed by a stint drumming for Best Coast, she eventually went off the grid and started her current and most successful project Bleached. Since starting this podcast I’ve become interested in why there aren’t more bands comprised of women. Obviously Jennifer doesn’t have the the whole answer but she articulated some interesting thoughts on the matter and I'm glad I brought it up. But it still makes me wonder. Why do people bring it up so much? Why did I? A few weeks ago I cruised over to her house outside Pasadena to drink La Croix, talk about the seducing world of punk rock, and figure out why the members of Mika Miko, a band with so much promise decided to call it quits.
Since 2007 Tim Heidecker has been a cult comedy hero. His show Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job created a legion of dedicated fans and launched his acting, directing, comedy, producing, and music career. But long before all the comedy success Tim wanted to be a musician. He even had a band called The Tim Heidecker Masterpiece that performed around Philly and NYC. Music took a backseat when Bob Odenkirk helped Tim and Eric land their first development deal but in recent years he's been writing and releasing some fantastic tunes. From his piss drinking Yellow River Boys to the more serious singer songwriter album, In Glendale, Tim has made music a priority and I wanted to know more. So I stopped by his studio... In Glendale to learn more. Thanks to Chris Swanson for making this happen.
Mallrat is an 18 year old wunderkind. During her senior year of highschool Grace Shaw kept her musical ambitions a secret. Instead of announcing that she was planning something she just started making music and released it online. Overnight she'd received numerous label offers and began climbing the charts on Australia's national radio station Triple J. These days she's playing festivals around the country, moving to America, and has half a million Spotify listeners per month. But how did that happen? This week we sit down with young Grace to figure out what exactly bubble gum wrap is, and why you don't need an expensive studio set up.
In 2010 my cousin asked me to meet with a couple of struggling musicians named Lucius. We met at a cafe, nothing really happened, then like a year later they blew up. I've always been curious about what happened in that year. When I met them they were just recent Berklee school of music grads. But what happened? This week I sit down with Jess and Holly to discuss how they approached their career and where it goes from here.
Hello friends. Have you ever wanted to travel around the world with gigantic bands and take photos of them? Does partying with rock stars on a nightly basis make sense to you? Then listen up. Jonathan Hoeg here is a rock photographer that's lived the damn dream. He's toured with Panic at the Disco!, New Politics, and 5 Seconds of Summer. Listen up and learn how Jonathan went from a kid in business school to taking photos in arenas.
Hello everyone, we are proud to announce that the Tour Manager's Guide is now called Sugar High. Every Wednesday we will be sitting down with fantastic musicians, producers, and industry professionals to talk about what it's like to live a life in music. In this weeks episode we preview some of the upcoming material with Chris Whitehall from the Griswolds. We also talk to him about losing a band member and his last tour.
Please note that this is the last episode under the name The Tour Manager's Guide. Next month we will return under the name Sugar High. Bears Den are a folk rock duo from London, England. In the last four years they've gone from playing open mics and small club nights to headlining large theaters around the world. Initially I wanted to interview both members together but I found both of their stories so interesting that I split them up. Today we sit down with co song writer, multi instrumentalist, and co founder of Communion music group, Kev Jones. I knew Kev's story was interesting and filled with challenges but I had no idea what I was in for. This episode is a history of Bears Den, but it is also an abridged history of the mid 2000's west London folk scene. A scene that touched or somehow involved bands like The Vaccines, Mumford and Sons, Mathew and the Atlas, Catfish and Bottlemen, Daughter, and many more.
Allday is the moniker of Australian rapper, Tom Gaynor. Over the last few years he's slowly risen to the top of the Australian rap game. He has a massive social media following, headlines shows, and is played regularly on Australian radio. amidst this success Tom decided to move to America. I have no idea what Australian hip hop is or what it's supposed to sound like, but if Tom is the average, it's great. I sat down with Tom to talk about how he rose through the ranks in Australia, his ambitions in America, and how in gods name you get over 150k Instagram followers.
The word record executive conjures up images of a ruthless businessman surrounded by mountains of cocaine, destroyed artists, and sharkskin suits. At least, it used to for me. Not anymore, because I know people like Chris Swanson. Chris Swanson runs The Secretly Group. A group of labels comprised of Secretly Canadian, Dead Oceans, and Jagjaguwar. They've signed and released records with Major Lazer, Jens Lekman, Bon Iver, The War On Drugs, and more. All of this was started in Chris's college dorm room. I frequently get asked by people how they get signed and I just decided to go to the source.
This is episode is part two in my dissection of Walk The Moon's hit, "Shut up and Dance". The song has been streamed over 3,000,000 times and was inescapable last year. But ever since it came out I've been fascinated with one thing... why that song? Why not one of the others? In today's episode Eli from Walk The Moon talks about his origins in Cincinnati, playing guitar, and why he thinks the song made such an impact.
RAC is the moniker of Portuguese American musician, Andre Allen Anjos. For the last few years he has become a fixture in the remix game. But Andre doesn't do your normal club mix. He takes the raw vocal stems and builds an entirely new song around them. He also makes money as a DJ AND has released successful solo material. Did I mention that he's been nominated for 2 Grammys? Andre was kind enough to sit down with us and discuss how he went from a Portuguese immigrant, to one of the music industries most sought after remix artists. He has remixed The Shins, Bloc Party, Depeche Mode, Lana Del Ray, and on and on.
Today I'm going to preview all the fantastic artists we are going to have on this year including Lucius, Mumford and Sons, Alex and Sierra, Tony Hoffer, Michelle Cable (Mac Demarco's Manager), Alexi Blue, Bears Den, Vancouver Sleep Clinic, Computer Magic, Tim Heidecker, and so many more.
Last year Walk the Moon was inescapable. In a few months they went from a semi successful indie band to the top of the Billboard charts with their single, "Shut Up and Dance". In this episode we sit down with the band's drummer, Sean Waugaman, and talk about where he learned to drum, how he joined the band, and how exactly they went from kids in Cincinnati to a worldwide sensation. Check this episode out if you are interest in: -Walk The Moon -Musicians -Drumming -Starting a band -Signing your band to a label -How a band becomes successful
Seth Haley aka Com Truise is an interesting dude. He's a one man synth army that went from advertising to internationally touring electronic musician. But how'd all this happen? How did a kid from Oneida that worked at his dad's furniture store begin writing synth space operas? What's his schedule? And why does he wish he had a job at a record store? Is advertising actually better than being a musician?
311 is a multi platinum selling band from Omaha Nebraska. In the mid 90s they went from dudes bumming around LA to multi platinum selling artists. They've been touring and making music ever since. I cruised over to their singer Nick Hexum's studio in LA to learn about how they made it, and everything they've been up to since.
Australia's the Griswolds rose to prominence in America with their single, "Beware the Dog." In the years since they've toured with Walk the Moon, Magic Man, and headlined venues around Europe and America. In this episode we hang with singer Chris Whitehall and talk about church, getting kicked out of bands, and how getting a record deal is half the battle.
Reuben Hollebon is a singer songwriter from a dreary part of England. He worked as a studio engineer for years before taking the plunge and becoming a full time musician. He's a thoughtful guy and kept me entertained. In this episode we discuss solo artists, Jeff Buckley, and why it's never too late to learn. I found this to be a particularly inspirational episode.
I can't count how many people I've met that want to make beats for a living. Rey is one of those people. He's so good in fact he received a Grammy nomination for his work on Beyonce's "Flawless". He's also produced for Britney Spears, and Will.I.Am. In this episode Rey breaks down what it takes to make it in the insane world of beat making.
In 2010 Boston's Aer were an internet sensation. Within a year they went from hometown heroes to a legitimate national touring act. Then this year, without any warning broke up. In this episode Danny heads to Carter Schultz's apartment in Brooklyn to learn about how Aer blew up online, and why they decided to call it quits.