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To Commemorate The Release Of Their New Single, ‘Together Apart’, Makes My Blood Dance Answer Our Burning Questions About Their Music, Songwriting Process, And Where Did Their Name Come From?

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Makes My Blood Dance won’t be strangers to those who’ve been reading Essentially Pop for the past few years, but there’s still been some burning questions we’ve wanted to ask them if we had the chance. Thankfully that opportunity has been given to us.

Hi, thanks for speaking to us! We’ve written about Makes My Blood Dance a few times over the past couple of years, but what I would like to know is, how did you come up with the name of your band?

It was a part of a poem by Chris Poindexter that was describing his feelings when looking at his girlfriend.  Something like the sight of her makes my blood dance.  I just thought, isn’t that the feeling we all want all the time?  No drugs, no alcohol, nothing but pure ecstasy and gratitude, the feeling of feeling love and bliss.  This band started at a time in my life when I became sober and started a new spiritual journey.  It felt right.  However, I left fate decide by putting it in a list of other names and presenting it to John and the rest of the band.  Everyone agreed that it should be the name without any influence from me.  Just meant to be I guess. 

Your new single, ‘Together Apart’ comes with a brilliant music video – we loved it a lot! How long did it take to make, and was it fun getting your inner Dancing With The Stars on? Did you have to do some training?

The making of Together Apart took months of pre production.  Everything from writing the treatment and concept creation to finding the right venue.  I worked with Ali Stevens on the choreography for many hours in virtual rehearsals one on one and with the other dancers.  The day of shooting was one of the best creative moments of my life.  I was so inspired dancing with Ali that I wrote another song called Dancin’ with an Angel which will see a release down the line.  Also a week later I started writing the next video which is also very dance oriented (as are all our videos).  Ali has an inner light that shines so bright when she is dancing, as soon as I saw her videos I wanted her in the MMBD video and pretty soon after meeting her I asked her to choreograph the whole thing.  That video is electrifying to watch and you can feel the energy.  It’s got all the elements of Makes My Blood Dance – that blissful erotic love that you can channel and see and feel and touch.

How has the pandemic been treating you? What changes have you made during this time and what ones are you going to take with you into the new normal?

We upgraded our home studios and recording process.  We learned to work virtually bigger and better than before.  The only drawback was the lack of touring, however, MMBD is heading out on the Lightning and Thunder tour with Edge of Destiny from Aug 17 – Sept 3, 2022.  Check our sites for dates and tickets.

What are the top three tracks on your playlist, and how did they get to be in that position? What artists are most inspirational to you, and why? And who or what inspires you most of all in your day to day lives?

Top 3 track right now in this very moment:

Fozzy “I Still Burn”

Three Days Grace “So Called Life”

Bad Omens “Like A Villain”

I love artists that take chances, that dig deep and do something fresh and that have an undeniable melodic sense that gets me hooked.  Something inside just clicks and then I’m a fan whether they are popular or not.  My day to day inspiration just comes in the work, in doing what we are doing, in communicating and creating with John and in performing live with the entire band.  Right now I am busy setting up our Lightning and Thunder tour with our entire team, designing new merch, doing interviews and rehearsing the new set.

If we had the power to get you sponsorship from any musical instrument brand, who would it be and why?

John and I will be going to NAMM this year to answer that question.  I am in the market for a new wireless monitor system and body pack.  Perhaps also a new microphone.  Right now I am using Shure for both and my preferred live mic is Shure 58 Beta.

What’s the songwriting process for you? What comes first, the words, the melody, or a bit of both? Is the band a democracy, or is there a definite person who has the last say in whatever decision that’s made?

The songwriting has always been John and myself.  Mostly John comes at me with the musical arrangement and I lay down the melodies and lyrics.  There have been songs that have been me writing it on guitar and singing a melody and then John fleshing it out but the majority come from the first approach.

What lays ahead for you as a band, and what can fans look forward to?

More content, we’ve got music recording, videos on the way and the Lightning and Thunder tour will be epic.  Don’t miss seeing us live!!

Finally, what question or questions do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does? And what’s the answer?

We carry our secrets inside because we are afraid of how people will judge us. The very nature of this question dives into that for me. We are all free in our hearts, that’s the place we all want to be, but take lifetimes to find the courage and right people to share that love and understanding. The right questions do not require an answer and most likely I need to look in your eyes…..there’s an understanding between us deeper than love and we embrace on a cosmic level that is infinite. Questions take energy, love shares and gives endlessly. I love you, keep going. 

Watch the video for ‘Together Apart’ below, and find out more about Makes My Blood Dance, and their music, online on Spotify, and Instagram.

Makes My Blood Dance - Together Apart (Official Music Video)



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St. Vincent Covers “Funkytown” For Minions: The Rise of Gru

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Some things in life are inevitable. For a while, that inevitably was a new Shrek movie with an updated pop cover like “I’m a Believer” from Smash Mouth. These days it’s a new Despicable Me movie, this time in the form of spinoff Minions The Rise of Gru. And just as we all predicted, the new Steve Carrell led film comes stacked with a loaded soundtrack headlined by St. Vincent.

For her contribution to the Minions: The Rise of Gru soundtrack, St. Vincent covered “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc. Her version was produced by Jack Antonoff and continues a run of luck for the musician that earlier this year saw her win a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album.

Antonoff also gave St. Vincent a shout-out for her album Daddy’s Home when he won Producer of the Year at the Grammys.

Announcing the release of her funky cover, St. Vincent took to Twitter and wrote, “Excited to say the @Minions (including @jackantonoff) and I have just released our version of ‘Funkytown’ from #TheRiseofGru soundtrack. Shout out to Gru and them…” Included with the post was a graphic of St. Vincent as a minion.

Joining St. Vincent on the Minions: The Rise of Gru soundtrack are Tame Impala, Kali Uchis, Brittany Howard, Thundercat, Caroline Polachek, Diana Ross, and Weyes Blood, just to name a few.

The album will be released on July 1, coinciding with the film’s theatrical release. You can listen to St. Vincent’s cover of Lipps Inc. “Funkytown” below!



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Parmalee Shares The Music Video For Their Top Five US Hit ‘Take My Name’, A Musical Marriage Proposal.

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Back in October of 2021, Parmalee released ‘Take My Name’ as the second single from their third studio album. It was written with and produced by David Fanning, producer of the massive hit ‘Carolina’ that introduced me to the band back in 2008, Ashley Gorley and Ben Johnson. Robyn Collins of ‘Taste of Country’ described the song as “a musical marriage proposal” and lead singer of the band, Matt Thomas, says it was inspired by the marriage of brother Scott; he says “it made me think about what I would want to say to my future wife.”

Some songs almost become bigger than themselves when they tap into the lives and moods of everyone and this is very much one of those songs. It’s not difficult to see why this song has been adopted by fans all over the world irrespective of their taste in music; its words conjure all the romance and love that you’d hope to feel when you ask someone to marry you. It’s lyrically a shopping list of everything you feel at the moment you realise you’ve met the one, even if that’s after only a short time. I remember proposing to my wife after just 8 weeks and if I try to remember what I was feeling at the point I proposed and tried to put it into words I would hope it was very similar to this song. Now over 31 years later and still happily married I listen to this song and it brings all those feelings back in a rush so why wouldn’t it be the perfect song to overlay a proposal, sing at the wedding or just be part of the moment; it’s how I’d love my sons to feel when they propose to their partners. 

Parmalee are very aware of their fans needs and were quick to record a wedding version for such occasions with a less catchy percussion and a softer piano focussed vibe than the original version. There have even been brilliant occasions where the band has turned up to “crash” a wedding and sing this song to the happy couple reminiscent of Maroon 5 and their song ‘Sugar’. None of those guests will forget that wedding in a hurry!

With all the interest in the song and the brilliant videos and messages the band have received, they felt the time was right to make their own narrative video to accompany the song as an addition to the previously released visualizer. The ‘Wedding Version’ video of the romantic song was filmed in Gallatin, TN and directed by Shane Drake. The heart-warming story follows the journey of the protagonist through middle school and all the way to adulthood featuring kids from a local school, an original 1968 Mustang Shelby GT350 and appearances from the band with the lead being played by frontman Matt Thomas.

Matt says:

“From the jump, the fans have really latched onto this song in such an amazing, life changing way- our fans have been the reason for so many of our own major milestones, so it means that much more to us that folks are using our song for their proposals and weddings and allowing us to be a part of those major moments in their lives. We wanted to pay tribute to the fans who have been on this journey with us since the beginning so in the music video you’ll see a story of love and loyalty unfold across the years-but don’t expect to see any weddings or proposals – the fan created videos far exceed anything we could depict. We love watching them.”

With over 135 million global on demand streams, the song has raced up the Country charts, outpacing the band’s previous single, the multinational Number 1 smash ‘Just The Way’ with Blanco Brown and has been popping up all over TikTok with creators playing the song over proposal and wedding videos and even sparking a trend of using the sound of the song and writing “if your man doesn’t make you feel this way then what are you doing?” over the video. 

Parmalee - Take My Name (Official Music Video)

Coming from their recently released album ‘For You’, an album that has garnered critical acclaim with American Songwriter calling it “authentically real, genuinely inspired” and Billboard saying that “Parmalee find itself in the enviable position of being able to tap into multiple audiences”. What is very clear is that Country music is slowly starting to find a new, younger audience in the UK to stand alongside the existing fans of the genre. Zack Bryan has recently found himself high on the Spotify album charts and UK stars like Ed Sheeran have appeared alongside Country stars like Luke Combs at the Country2Country festival. Even Tom Odell has found himself headlining the British Country Music Festival in the Summer. Parmalee may be the band to really break down the barriers between Country music and the UK Charts with this song as the musical genre of this release is far less important than the honesty and emotion of the lyrics and Romance will always break down all of the barriers, or at least I would hope it would.

‘For You’ is out now and can be streamed and downloaded here. Find out more about Parmalee and their music online on their official website.

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Mercedess Releases debut album ‘Casa Fantasia’ along with lead single ‘Summers Already Gone’

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This Copenhagen DIY pop artist has managed the difficult task of mixing her soulful voice with vibrant dreamy production and lyrics with real streetwise attitude. The result is something that has given her the hit single ‘Obvious’ which Danish radio loved and the internationally acclaimed single ‘Back to Business’. Now she is releasing the excellent lead single ‘Summer’s Already Gone’ which sounds very modern Bond in its lo fi production but tells an unusual love story. Not a story about falling in love with a person, but about the love affair that always ends; the affair with Summer.

She says:

“I wanted to write a song that could represent both the fearlessness of the magical Summer days and the truly blue sadness of the re occuring love story it actually is when Summer eventually comes to an end. I know it’s a heartbreaking, melancholy feeling but it’s also everything I love about Summer.”

The song was written in Mercedess’ living room with Danish indie superstar Goss and the guitarist Søren Breum and is produced by the critically acclaimed artist Vera. It allows the velvet of the artist’s voice to tumble over the muted trumpets, break beats and flirty acoustic guitars and strings bringing to life the seasonal heartbreak. 

The fact that it is about the love and anticipation felt for Summer is almost more poignant this year as we embark upon the first free Summer for a few years. The affair with Summer this year promises to be a torrid passionate affair as we’ve been apart so long but the heartbreak of its end will be felt more keenly. This song will be the soundtrack to the affair for sure.

The single is released on the same day as the debut album from this exciting new talent. Mercedess says of the album: “Casa Fantasia is an album about longing for closeness and honesty. These songs are an escape from reality-a place to feel free and be yourself. Writing it was a personal journey and process to me that hopefully will make space for creativity, art and emotions for others too”

The album promises to do just that with the artist’s melancholy and yet warm and dreamy vocals and marks an exciting new chapter for an artist destined to find international acclaim  with this collection of music. Summer may come and go but I’m sure the appeal of Mercedess will be perennial. 

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