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Marineris Talks With EP About His New Album, What Inspires Him And Where He Got His Name. – Essentially Pop



This young singer from Ukraine is certainly one to watch. His new album ‘My Band Could Be Your Home’ explores the complexities of a teenage mind with such diverse and engaging style that it could certainly become your favourite record. It’s a release that never bores, often surprises but always enchants as it moves through its complex and cathartic take on life as a young person at such a strange time. I’m sure many people will resonate with the lyrics and get swept along by the alt pop rhythms that draw to mind The 1975 amongst others. Whilst it will be billed as a look at a Gen-Z mind-set, it really isn’t a record that can only be enjoyed if you’re young. It’s a chance for anyone to understand how difficult life can be for a developing human being and is as much a learning experience as it is a musical one; who doesn’t want the chance to understand each other more and this record is a timely glimpse into what makes everyone tick, but especially a young person at a time when there is so much fear and uncertainty.

Coming from Ukraine and already garnering critical approval from The Independent and Headliner magazine, the album is accompanied by some brilliant self-directed videos. Alex, the 23-year-old behind Marineris, has really managed to take his inspiration from his beginnings in an industrial town in Ukraine to something that is globally applicable. After all, at the moment in the throes of a global pandemic, we all suddenly find ourselves in the same predicament.

Marineris says:

“There is no safer place in the world than the place you can call ‘home’. When we feel that we’re safe; when we feel that no one is judging but accepting us for who we really are – that’s when we can become the best versions of ourselves. We can feel, think, and act from our heart. We can give to the world everything we’re here for.

This album became my way of dealing with the pain, fear, doubt and judgement. It became my opening to happiness, love and my calling. This album became my home, which I looked for in all the people I’ve met and all the places I’ve been to, but never found. If while listening to it, you even once feel the inner strength to act upon things you were scared of before, if you even once start crying and dancing at the same time with a smile on your face, all by yourself, then all the thousands of hours I’ve spent on making it will not be in vain not only in my life, but in someone else’s too.”

I was lucky enough to get to pose a few questions to Marineris and I hope his eloquent responses offer an insight into this exciting artist and encourage you to give his music a spin.

EP:  Hi, great to get the chance to ask you a few questions about your new album ‘My Band Could Be Your Home’. The inspiration behind this track could almost be the inspiration behind your whole vibe couldn’t it? The song, for me, is very much about taking refuge in music when everything else stops making sense. Whose best friend hasn’t been music at some point in their lives and in that way music is life changing or taking it as far as we could, life-saving. Is that your inspiration for the song, and is that your inspiration for being one of the few alt pop singers to emerge from the Ukraine?

M: Yes, definitely. It’s surprising how accurately you sensed the message behind this song and the album overall. I started working on this album in Fall 2019, and from that moment on, I’ve lived through the most diverse experiences. I was only able to get past some of them with the help of music. The fact of having something so valuable to you, something that never leaves you, is spectacular. One time, my close friend told me: “If music doesn’t save you, nothing will”. It sounds romantic, yet I think it was represented the reality at the moment. The fact of growing up in Ukraine was important and defining for me, but I look at it as though I just have to work even harder.

EP: To say that you are hands on would be an understatement. You write, record, produce and visualise your music. Which of these roles gives you the most pleasure and does the fact that you are in control of the process make you feel that you are really delivering music in the way that you want to deliver it?

M: Thanks so much! I think that the moments when I’m writing or working on production are the most important. These are the moments when I feel the best I possibly can. When you feel like something is emerging within the song – those moments are indescribable. It is in those seconds that I don’t think that I’m a slacker (because I usually do:) I always turned my attention to seemingly unimportant details, so it’s important for me to work through every part of it and participate in the entire process. Of course, I would be happy to transfer some of the responsibilities onto someone else, but in any way, I always want to be the one to control the art direction of Marineris.

EP:  Sonically, it’s evident that you must be inspired by The 1975. Who are your musical inspirations and given the chance who would be your dream collaboration at the moment?

M: I’m listening to all kinds of music, that’s why it’s hard to distinguish someone specific. The 1975 is truly an important band for me not only sonically, but also from the perspective of positioning your music and yourself within art. They are the reason why I allowed myself to be so open-minded about mixing genres within the bounds of one artist. We, being the diverse human being that we are, are experiences of different states and emotions. We’re listening to a great variety of music within our playlists. So why can’t I allow myself to make a song that will have a punk-rock sound to it? I think that kind of freedom is the secret of artistic longevity. It’s important to maintain the interest and the hunger to the world and to yourself ????

I really love ‘girl in red’ right now – she is cool. It seems like we would find a common ground with her. ‘No Rome’ too, he’s an amazing creator.

EP: Growing up in The Ukraine must have given you exposure to some very different music and culture to the music that you are making. Do you like to merge your cultural background into your music in any way or do you try to use your music as a way to diversify from your life away from music? 

M: I’m not sure I understand how I could apply something from my specific cultural background. Surely, there are the traditional instruments and songs which are associated with Ukraine, but I’m not interested in doing it in the way they do it now in electronic folk music. If those codes were present in my music, they would sound in a relevant and modern way.

EP: Your music has been critically acclaimed and there are several voices in music citing you as one to watch for the future. Are you planning to tour the album and if so where can people get the chance to see you play live? Given that you are so hands on with the record production, will playing the music live be a step into the unknown as you might have to relinquish control in some areas when you play?

M: Of course, I’m just dreaming about that day when I’ll be going on tour! Britain and Europe will be the first territories where I’ll be touring, I think. The album will sound incredible live and the concerts will be full of energy and drive, as all of the songs have an organic blend of acoustic and electric sound. Marineris is definitely the music that should be played by a band. I knew it from the very beginning and I come back to this thought every day. All the concerts I’ve had before were played by a group of four, and I think we will maintain the same arrangement for the live performances. I can’t wait!

EP: The album song titles could be a tour through the psyche of a young person at the moment, and especially as we emerge from the pandemic with all its attached emotional and social difficulties. Do you see your music as a way for young people to realise that everyone is going through the same thing and therefore helping them to cope, be stronger and realise they are not alone?

M: I really hope for it and will be infinitely happy if it would acquire that meaning for someone. Of course, social media creates an impression of being together and not feeling lonely, but is it really true? I think that in some way it only enhances our loneliness, because we stopped seeing each other so often and having those unique emotional experiences. Time is hard for everyone, but especially for young people, as at the time when they have to get to know themselves and the world around them, there is also a colossal amount of global problems that create an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty. I think the first step to dealing with this would be to acknowledge the fact that we’re all in a difficult space now, but at least our experiences are similar.

EP: Your songs to date have been quite diverse in nature but all drawn together by your style. Are you keen to not be tied to any one genre and experiment with other music genres?

M: Yes, for sure. I love all kinds of music and look at the defining characteristics of different genres as a form of expression. If a song has a certain emotion in it to be expressed, so I don’t see anything bad in using whatever means necessary to deliver it to the listeners.

EP:  Finally, and really just to cure my curiosity, is your name anything to do with Valles Marineris on Mars? I wondered if there was an allusion to the chasm that runs, like a scar, on the skin of the Red Planet and whether there was a symbolism attached to that for you?

M: Hah, yes! Absolutely! I first saw the word “Marineris” on a space poster for Valles Marineris. At the first glance, this word seemed very poetic and aesthetically pleasing to me. There are not many words, where vowels and consonants are so interchangeably harmonious. Also, it has 9 letters in it, and 9 is my favourite number! But don’t tell anyone:)

EP: It’s our secret haha, well ours and everyone that will read this. Thank you so much for your time and good luck with your super project.

Stream and download ‘My Band Could Be Your Home’ here, and find out more about Marineris and his music online on Instagram.

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Josie Cotton & Kevin Preston Got A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On With New Rockabilly Single, ‘The Ballad Of Elvis Presley’



The first thing you’ll notice in the video of ‘The Ballad Of Elvis Presley’ is Josie Cotton’s sky-high beehive hair, the likes of which we’ve not seen since the late great Amy Winehouse – or, more likely given the subject matter, Priscilla Presley. But hair like that is a good sign that we’re in for a treat, and Josie Cotton and Kevin Preston certainly don’t disappoint.

‘The Ballad Of Elvis Presley’ is just that – a biographical journey through his life and career, from his origins in Tupelo Mississippi to his demise at his Graceland estate. The collaboration between Josie Cotton and Kevin Preston – the latter with his own Elvis style bouffant – couldn’t come at a better time, with the recent release of Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Elvis’ biopic, and with a rhythm section including Lee Rocker of the Stray Cats, and Blondie’s Clem Burke, is guaranteed to find a welcome space in the hearts of not just Elvis’s fans, but also fans of great music.

The music video for ‘Ballad Of Elvis Presley’, directed by Piper Ferguson, sees Josie and Kevin in a ghost town, set loose in a saloon, a church, and a duelling ground. They’re joined by others as well, including a laid back bartender, a gunslinger, a dead ringer for Calamity Jane, and a slew of poker players.
The members of the band have set up behind the swinging wooden doors of the bar, and they’re certainly ready for a showdown with anybody who even dares question that Elvis Presley is, and always shall be, The King.

You can listen to ‘The Ballad Of Elvis Presley’ below, and follow Josie Cotton online to find out more about the artist and her music on her official website, Facebook, and Instagram.


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Following The Release Of Her Single, ‘Sweet N Sour’ We Catch Up With Jojo Engelbert



Jojo Engelbert has been on our radar for a while now, and if you’ve not yet caught on, we recommend you do so, starting with her latest release, ‘Sweet N Sour’, because it marks a new turn in her career. Still in her teens, Jojo is nonetheless an entertainment industry veteran, and we caught up with her and asked her a few questions.

We’ve been following your music career for a few years now, and we’ve seen you go from strength to strength. Your new single, ‘Sweet N Sour’ is a different tack for you stylistically, what’s the reasoning behind that and what should fans expect next?

I really found the sound I love with Sweet N Sour. Eli (big brother) shared with me a track he produced and I told him it was perfect for the sound I wanted. I’m not a pop singer. I’m drawn to a darker alternative/punk sound. As much as I liked Grown Up, it just isn’t me. So I really wanted to find my space following that release. You can expect this sound to continue and develop.

You’ve seen your older siblings growing up in the public eye on their tv shows, and you’ve also appeared with them; what has that experience been like, and has there ever been a time where you’ve thought that you would rather not be in entertainment? What would you choose to do if you weren’t a singer?

Their experiences are their own, but I was fortunate to get a sense of what the business is like from a young age. I remember when I was like six or seven years old and they had a concert and were signing autographs afterwards. That looked like a lot of fun to me. I didn’t quite understand why nobody wanted my autograph. That night, Zoey taught me a song and the following day we performed it at their concert. I got to sit at the autograph table. One person asked for it. It was my dad.

I was fortunate to have a couple great roles in regional theatre (Small Alison in Fun Home and Mary Lennox in Secret Garden) which led me to Nancy Carson (Carson Adler Agency) which led to other really cool opportunities. 

My passions are acting and singing. I can’t imagine pursuing any other career.

Who most inspires your musical style? What are the top three songs on your playlist right now, and why are they there?

I draw from inspiration from the likes of Charli XCX, Olivia Rodrigo, Ariana Grande, Hayley Williams and Marina.  

My current top three songs would have to be:

Forever – Charlie XCX, Go Away – Tate McRae and Womanizer – Britney Spears

We’re coming out the other side of the Covid-19 pandemic. How did it affect you, and what lessons have you learned from it that you’ll take with you, returning to normal life?

It was a terrible time for everyone. It certainly impacted opportunities to act and perform. I decided to spend the time really developing my acting skills and vocal technique. I knew I did not want to fall behind. Quite the opposite. I wanted to emerge better and stronger.

Finally, I ask this of everyone I interview: what question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does? And what’s the answer to that question?

That’s a tough one. Being a bit of an introvert, I’m OK with fewer questions. But I do want to thank you for this interview!

You can follow Jojo online on Instagram, and TikTok. Watch ‘Sweet N Sour’ below.

Jojo Engelbert and YETIBEAR  - Sweet N Sour (Official Music Video)

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Butterfly GHOSTE Releases ‘Slow Motion’ From Her 5 Track EP As She Emerges From The Chrysalis Of Her Former Musical Self.



Anyone familiar with the music scene in New York would be aware of the talent of Jenny Bruce, who released her debut album in 1997 and went on to win the Billboard International Songwriting Contest in 2001, accepting her award at Nashville’s iconic Bluebird Cafe. She went on to build a huge following amongst the NYC crowd by appearing in festivals and clubs and appeared on stage with John Oates, Sophie B Hawkins, Vanessa Carlton and Avril Lavigne amongst others. Her songs have been featured far and wide in TV and film and to the musical bystander, things would have appeared to be going from strength to strength but this American singer songwriter was coming to a pinch point in her life that would create the need for a musical rebirth. 

GHOSTE - Photo credit: Shervin Lainez
GHOSTE – Photo credit: Shervin Lainez

In 2015 she released an EP ‘Firefly in a Jar’ which included the single ‘Giving Up the Ghost’ which felt like a heart breaking goodbye to her Mother with lyrics like: “I still come undone when it’s time to say goodbye” and “I hear your voice softer than the breeze, you speak to me, the rustling of leaves, I don’t care why there’s a part of me that will never say goodbye, giving up the ghost” which is backed by a repeated mantra of “I’m not giving up”. This EP marked a return after a self-imposed step away from music of ten years and Jenny was quoted as saying:

“It’s such a long story. To sum it up. I didn’t write for myself for over a decade. I bottled everything up and locked it in a jar. Especially the feelings of loss after my Mother died. That loss broke my heart and hurt so much that I kind of shut down. Thing is, I became a mother around the same time. It was a very confusing period in my life. These songs are little life rafts that I wrote to pull myself up and out of a numbing sea”

It was to be 5 years later that Jenny released album GHOSTE, the name of which may have sprung directly from the thought of giving up the ghost by becoming GHOSTE, the silent e at the end almost suggesting anything but silence. Officially giving up the ghost and adopting GHOSTE meant that Jenny was able to emerge from the critically acclaimed and award winning song writing of the past to become something different but the same, a butterfly from the chrysalis of her song writing past. The eponymous album under the new name came out in 2020 and immediately caught the eye; the powerful song writing was of course still there but there was an ethereal quality in the electro pop style that suggested a musical rebirth.

GHOSTE - Photo credit: Shervin Lainez
GHOSTE – Photo credit: Shervin Lainez

Jenny has been asked about the name and she recalls:

“My late Mom cautioned me that after you turn 50 nobody listens to you and you become invisible, a ghost. Having crossed the 50-yard line, myself, I would tell her that aging doesn’t make you invisible. Trying to be something you are not, does.”

There are so many things we can draw from this simple and yet revealing statement. The nod to the 50-yard line suggests so much more than a number of birthdays and hints that Jenny sees this as a half way mark in her career before she goes on the offensive. There’s a real suggestion that up until now, she was trying to be something she wasn’t. She has garnered huge success from an early contractual agreement to write for TV and film but this comes with certain shackles that musically she seems determined to cast aside. The fact that she has moved away from the possibility of invisibility and being a ghost by becoming something more than a ghost, hence the added e, is a definite statement of intent that she will be heard.

Scroll forward to now and we see music from the artist in the shape of a five track EP show casing last year’s album release. The haunting music, excuse the pun, brings to mind the vocals of Kate Bush or Annie Lennox, artists whose vocal style has inspired so many of today’s singers and producers. Assisted by Matt Anthony, producer and composer, GHOSTE’s new music is the culmination of over a decade of collaboration that has finally found its wings.

The track listing of the teaser EP for the album could be the chapters of a book; ‘slow motion’, ‘deep water’, ‘fix you’, ‘hold on’ and ‘brick by brick’ suggest a progression of a career but all tracks are infused with Jenny’s inimitable style. GHOSTE even manages the almost impossible feat of covering a Coldplay song, often attempted but rarely adding anything. In this instance Jenny brings new nuance to the lyrics within the framework of this musical rebirth.

GHOSTE - Photo credit: Shervin Lainez
GHOSTE – Photo credit: Shervin Lainez

The selection opens with ‘Slow Motion’, an upbeat opener which quickly works its way into your memory before moving to the stunning ‘Deep Water’, which has a cinematic feel to it which builds with a beautiful ‘deep water’ refrain reminiscent of Ennio Morricone before a Kate Bush like climax; it’s a song that is so stunningly layered and the stand out track for me. Next is ‘Fix You’ which GHOSTE covers with real style; I’m sure that Chris Martin would love the almost galactic feel to the production of this wonderful song. The penultimate track, ‘Hold On’ is another wonderfully layered track with very moving lyrics and great production, much in the style of Jack Garratt, the superb UK artist. ‘Brick by Brick’ opens with the line ‘It’s a long way back, I can hear you calling’ and that feels like a direct reference to this musical return and the heartbreaks and life changing episodes that have made up the fabric of Jenny’s life since her self-imposed hiatus. The lyrics are a wonderful reworking of the three little pig’s children’s story and references the rebuilding of a musical vision but in brick this time; a suggestion that this time she will not be “blown down”.

There is so much emotion in this release and so much underlying story telling. Like the production, it will haunt you in stages. Firstly, you will love the wonderful electro pop cinematic quality of the music, then you will fall in love with Jenny’s wonderful voice, reminiscent of artists past but also reminding me of the brilliant Riva Taylor, a UK artist equally inspired by Kate Bush, but finally the thing that will stay with you forever will be the incredible lyrics; the honesty, the baring of a soul and the feeling that this is the start of a new exciting journey built on the lessons of the past. It turns out that the 50 yard line is just the beginning.

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