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Interview: BONNE drops dynamically charged new album to wake up sleepy minds, execute

Now performing as a power-packed duo with Jon Locker to differentiate the live band sound and telling us more about her new message-heavy album, the early music career and central Iowa life, the award-winning Midwest, USA-based pop/rock musician/composer BONNE (Bonne Finken) opens up our minds with an interview to behold with execute.

Llewelyn: Firstly, do you recall the precise moment when you just knew music was what you wanted to do for a living and what did it feel like in your veins?

Bonne: For me, it was around eight years old. I’ve always been drawn to and loved all aspects of music, but had only been exposed to either pop music on the radio or to gospel music in church. When I was around 8 yrs old, my father played me a song called “Angel From Montgomery” by John Prine, and it was like someone decoded a secret language for me. It was the first time I felt sad when listening to a song. It wasn’t upbeat or fun to listen to, like the music on the radio. I was hooked by that feeling. To be able to tell your stories and truths and feel connected to someone I’ve never met through music. I literally began (attempting) to write songs right after that.

Jon: The first time I played in front of people and they responded…that was enough for me.

Llewelyn: Secondly, please tell us about your new music name and who is now involved in BONNE. Also, how has the process been from the solo artist world to band world – pros and cons?

Bonne: I’d still technically consider myself a solo artist. This is more a ‘Duo Project’ vs. band – and was started as an effort to link an album to what our sound is, live. It’s myself and Jon Locker, as far as who is involved in BONNE, from the writing standpoint. We brought in two producers to help with drums and production, Seth Luloff and Micah Natera (and Kevin Bowe for ‘Woman’). So a very lean production team, really, in the world of rock music. Jon and I have worked together for years, this is more a project where he could step out from behind the scenes/the backing band into the forefront and be more involved from the infancy stage of the songwriting. I still do and plan to continue to make music as Bonne Finken – BONNE was a way to differentiate the SOUND more than anything – I knew this was a departure, sonically, since the songs were produced around Jon’s lead bass as the lead instrument. I’m still determining the pros and cons – but all are probably pretty consistent with any musical venture in this current industry climate. We are just excited with how the album turned out and happy we get opportunities to share it.

Llewelyn: Please may you guide us into the vision, the sound and the process behind the project.

Bonne: For me, the vision and sound goal somewhat built as a juxtaposition to my last two albums. My solo albums I never let myself be limited by what instruments were available to me, live. If I heard choirs or strings or layered drums, that’s what went on the record – even if I knew it would be difficult (or impossible) to pull together for an LIVE indie show.
This album, it was “what can be recreated as a live rock band” and I/we tried to stay living inside of that when it came to writing and production. Specifically, Jon has a new instrument (a custom built BilT bass guitar) and the songs were largely built around ‘what can Jon cover, live, sonically’ and just add drums and maybe just ONE snyth line or two. Even adding harmonies to my lead vocal was a ‘should we or shouldn’t we’ since it’s semi-breaking the rules of ‘what can we recreate live’ since I do my own back-ups….and can’t do that live.
Jon: I kept saying “exploring the limitations” as we were making the songs.

Bonne & Jon: Also, a ROCK album – was the vision and sound.

Llewelyn: Also, are there any specific tracks we should be extra thrilled about?

Bonne: “Problems” is my favorite. It’s in the Top 5 of songs I’ve ever written – from this and all albums – and I feel the unique sounds from Jon’s lead bass feels special on it and I completely adore Micah (Natera)’s production – I think it’s honestly dark and beautiful and I’m very proud of how it ended up.
Jon: “Contender”…duh. It just feels right all around.

Llewelyn: You’re an award-winning and much-respected musician. Does that come with extra pressure and what does it feel like to have your music on major tv shows such as MTV’s The Real World & E!’s Keeping Up With the Kardashians?

Bonne: It feels good retrospectively. It can sometimes be a hindrance. The accolades can sometimes give the illusion that you don’t still need help, or opportunities, or money, ha. But I’m proud of my work, not only the music or songs I’ve written – but the work put into getting it heard – which is sometimes harder than the creation itself. Of course, I am learning this is just the life of an indie artist – and I’m making peace with that! But it’s why it’s so important to be making music for myself, that I love to create/perform, since that is really all that is solid ground in my world. My never wavering from that is, perhaps, the only reason I’m able to keep going. I know any award or accolade given was based on my own work and decisions. Not someone telling me what I should write about or do.

Llewelyn: What’s it like being an artist from the Midwest and where exactly did you grow up and learn your craft?

Bonne: I grew up in central Iowa. The difficult part of growing up as a writer of electronic pop/rock music is there aren’t alot of people to collaborate with. But on the plus side, largely thanks to the large folk/americana scene here — there’s still the embrace of my music because I’m not just a creator/artist/singer – I’m a songwriter, too. I’ve been lucky to play just about every venue you can think of in the state – despite having a sound that most wouldn’t assume places me from the Midwest. So I was able to put in my “10,000 hours”. That’s how I’ve learned my craft. By doing it. It also means when you find a cohort, like I’ve found in Jon Locker, you’re grateful that someone likes and wants to play songs that you like to play.

Jon: I was born in Mason City, IA and grew up in Nevada, IA where there were several other players slightly older than me that let me hang early. I started at age 12. First bar gig at 13. I learned from gigging.

Llewelyn: Also, who has inspired you to reach your dreams no matter the challenges of the music industry?

Bonne: Self-motivated people inspire me. People who have a passion and move towards the passion, even if it’s difficult, or the road less traveled. I’m also inspired by knowing my kids are watching and learning from me, to be one of those people. That if you love something – you should keep doing it. For me, I don’t have a choice, really. I hear things in my head. I have to get them out in order to sleep or function. Once they’re out in demo form & start to take shape – I choose which ones to focus on & finish….then….I put them out for people to listen to. And then the cycle begins again. I love it and I have to do it. Hopefully someday that will equate itself to more money – but really – just so that I can spend more time/money on it… hire that choir/string section I put in my recordings but can’t afford to bring onto a stage.

Jon: Lots of people. It feels like the music “industry” is barely a thing anymore. It’s broken right now. The challenge for an artist or band is that you used to be able to make a living playing and selling music…good friggin luck with that right now!

Llewelyn: You’ve just been told you have the keys to and an unlimited budget to put on/run a music festival. Who would you add to the lineup, where would it be and what would the message of the event be?

Bonne: I’d add my favorite group from each genre I could think of – from Eminem to Jon Batiste to Alanis Morrisette to Billie Eilish to Brandi Carlile – and just celebrate individuality by artists who created their own sound without worrying about what ‘the current trend’ was. A genre-less festival celebrating pioneers of sound.

Jon: First question…is rain insurance part of the deal? If yes then I still don’t know!!

Llewelyn: Lastly, what does the future hold for you long-term and what advice would you give to young musicians trying to find their way to the top?

Bonne: All I know for sure is I’m going to continue to create new music. The only advice I feel I’m qualified to give: be sure you do what you love to do. Fame, Fortune, Failure, whatever….that music is there forever with your name on it. Try not to take advice from someone who will tell you what to do with your art/voice/stories to make THEM money. It’s all a crapshoot – so – do you, boo.

Hear this massively incredible album on Spotify.

See more news and gig show info on IG.

Interview by Llewelyn Screen

No One Is Listening: Virginia rockers Congenial Crime feels rather alone on Chasing

With a mighty tone and leading us into the lonely sofa without someone so vivid, Congenial Crime has dropped a massively reflective melody which will have many Chasing.

Congenial Crime is a Charlottesville, Virginia-based indie rock band that fuses that chainsaw-in-the-washing-machine-like sound which will cause plumbers to feel a shudder of discontent in their veins.

Delighting all listeners with something honest and belted out with ferociously created enthusiasm, Congenial Crime slices its way into our hearts with some aplomb. This is heavy-hitting stuff and is lathered rather explosively to spark a feeling so many have dealt with before.

Chasing from Charlottesville, Virginia-based indie rock band Congenial Crime is a rather memorable experience which will put many shivers in the bones of millions. This is ear-splitting stuff and digs deeper into a well-described picture, which describes the pain of losing someone so vital. Sung with fervency and verse, we find a spectacular single to add voltage to a sleepy day.

Turn this up in full for maximum effect on Spotify.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Sydney-based metal act BESOMORA slices their way in rather viciously on Mass Starvation

Sparking up our attention with a hardcore song which could break down bank vaults, BESOMORA stride through like gigantic Transformers on their massive new single called Mass Starvation.

BESOMORA is a Sydney, Australia-based indie melodic metal band who play as a four-piece and pack a punch that would knock out many heavyweights.

The name Besomora is derived from Slavic mythology and draws inspiration from dark spirits and demons, which the band deems a direct representation of the imagery they wish to portray and a reflection of their music.” ~ BESOMORA

Forging through the noise with their Eastern European background bonding their heritage together in a united front, BESOMORA is a loud band and might shatter innocent eardrums. They drive through like a Tower Crane and lift us away from the fake and into a world of rip-roaring velocity.

Mass Starvation from Australian-based melodic metal band BESOMORA is rather explosive and might leave some debris behind with a soaring display for the ages. Showing us why they’re one of the most exciting bands around, this is a metal head’s dreamy delight to get the bright lights in our minds flaming alright again.

See this heavy music video on YouTube and see more on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

I’m Disgusted: Wachira takes fame over the money on ILLEGAL

Following on from his previous releases from 2022 called African Boy and Inferno, Wachira powers in with an immense soundtrack that is gangsta all the way on his latest offering, ILLEGAL.

Wachira, aka Joshua Wachira, is a hip hop artist who is clearly on a mission to take over the scene and bends our ears with robust music to play loud in the car.

Showing rap heads how things should be done, Wachira thunders his way inside our awareness with a superior display that shall shatter any fragile windows nearby. Thunderous in nature and serious in tone, pulsating many ears which might cause slight perforations.

ILLEGAL from hip hop artist Wachira is a hardcore track for those who like their speakers busting from the seams. Showing us he is going to do things the right way into that promised land, this is a song that will find many nodding with all night long.

Crammed with intensity and a barrage of vocal ingenuity to bounce all night with, you might find yourself going back to the 90s on this one.

Listen up to this heavy song on Spotify and follow his socials on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

California metal band Slanderus urge us to grab our own destiny on, ‘Absorbing Infinity’

Smashing our previous mindset into tiny pieces to make sure that no unfavourable energy comes close to our precious souls, Slanderus helps us to see the light that is away from the darkness-packed narrative that is holding so many back from fulfilling their potential on, ‘Absorbing Infinity‘.

Slanderus is an Ontario, California-based progressive metal 4-piece band that makes a heavy but intricate blend of hardcore music to vent out any frustration to the universe.

Showing us that they are the type of band that will scare many and thrill others, Slanderus dominate the speakers with a heavy performance that might leave your eardrums rattling in utter delight with an assertive display of true might.

Absorbing Infinity‘ from Ontario, California-based progressive metal 4-piece band Slanderus is a story about wondering if you will flounder as a mouse stuck into a trap, or find a way to adapt and survive to move on to better times. There is roaring vehemence that lights up the stage here and simmers deeply into your veins, from an outfit that likes to call the shots and dictate what roads they go down. Wondering what could have happened, is definitely not an option.

Slamming the door shut on any potential roadblocks and middlemen with no genuine love for the music game, this is a track that will certainly excite metal fans who have been looking for new heroes to get behind after so much darkness.

Turn up the volume on YouTube and see their stories unfold on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Barcelona-based rock artist MANU RENO shakes the speakers awake on ‘When I’m Gone’

NocturnA by MANU RENO

Taken from his latest album which is the 12-track ‘NocturnA‘ that dropped on the 21st February 2022, MANU RENO elucidates the rock fans to arouse from their past respite on his new hardcore rock single, ‘When I’m Gone‘.

MANU RENO is a Barcelona, Spain-based indie-rock singer-songwriter who makes the kind of music that thumps through the very veins of your dazed body that will be enthralled by each second.

Bass player, forever rocker…Solo albums, all by myself (written, composed, performed and recorded).” ~ MANU RENO

Bellowing a call to look deeper and to never forget your journey in this detour-filled world that can catch you out like a mouse on cheese, MANU RENO breezes in with a comprehensively sturdy performance that shows us his extraordinary experience and lyrical awareness from his life on the road.

When I’m Gone‘ from Barcelona, Spain-based indie-rock singer-songwriter MANU RENO is one of those songs which might cause you to reflect deeply on your life as you see it. He is a rugged storyteller who has clearly lived and seen all the wars and hate which can break fragile souls into tiny fragments. Sung with a deep velocity that will have you listening so intently, this is a rock track that might have you closing your eyes, and imagining what everything will look like when you aren’t on this planet anymore.

Hear this heavy new single on Bandcamp and check out his website for more.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Not Now Norman wishes to be taken away from where the sound of our children’s cries haunts us all on ‘Save Me’

With a heavy sound that shall simmer quickly into the very fabric of our souls, Not Now Norman pleads for a new world to arise from this current one that seems to burn everything in its wake with ‘Save Me‘.

Not Now Norman is a Northumberland, UK-based indie alt hard-rock 4-piece band that are on the rise and show us their ever-growing quality.

Thrilling us with a track that packs more punch than a Champion boxer fighting for that heavyweight title, Not Now Norman is quite thunderously excellent on ‘Save Me‘ and call out for a united world to stamp out any evil amongst us. There is a sensational single on offer here that might cause some ears to bleed, as we are thrown into a rip-roaring track that will surely have your heart beating like never before.

Save Me‘ from Northumberland, UK-based indie alt hard-rock 4-piece act Not Now Norman is a haunting single for anyone who has thought about what humankind is currently facing in this seemingly alternate reality. With a weighty sound that is colossal in nature and brings you to the floor – as you wonder why we live with so much madness strewn all over our lands – that should be filled with peace, not war.

Listen in to this new single on Spotify and check out the IG page for more.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

The Dark Sky: Finnish rock band Antivalent knows that there is nothing left on ‘Heavy’

As the infuriating quarrels become too much to handle and the love wanes away like a broken boat sinking into the cold sea below and capsizing dramatically, Antivalent navigates us into an all-too-familiar sad story about how that close bond can shatter into half on ‘Heavy‘.

Antivalent is a pulsating Seinäjoki, Finland-based indie alt-rock act that burns a fiery fuel all over your inquisitive speakers that lights up your imagination on each one of their ear-piercing releases.

Slicing the rampaging riffs with so much skill and preciseness, there is also brilliant vocal electricity on offer to relish from your new favourite band Antivalent. Bringing us a track that is so enjoyable to listen to despite the harrowing story of a breakup that probably had to transpire, there is so much spark-filled exuberance on offer here from an outfit that is quite outstanding on this weighty track.

Heavy‘ from the splendid Seinäjoki, Finland-based alt-rock band Antivalent, is a high-powered performance that is quite unforgettable. Featuring visuals that leads you into the whole story to maximum effect, there is an aspect of sadness but also a relief when it’s all over that is certainly realistic. Sometimes we all just need a break from the constant soulless heartbreak, that can destroy the minds of even the strongest.

See their new music video on YouTube and check out the IG music page for more.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Oh No: Ruggedly rocking Tel Aviv-Yafo band Mellow KIM desire that change on ‘I Want More’

Room 315 by Mellow Kim

Taken off the recently released four-track EP called ‘Room 315, Mellow KIM power in with a rip-roaring display on their new dance-inducing single that will lift you off your cozy chair called ‘I Want More‘.

Mellow KIM is a Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel-based three-piece indie rock act who love to turn up the volume and let the speakers shake around like it was 1999 again.

We are noisy, heavy and full of love.” ~ Mellow KIM

With simple lyrics that takes you into the local club as you watch the type of band who will have a chat with you afterwards, we are drawn into a monumental effort that such a welcome and catchy experience. Their love for making that sizzling sound which heats up our enthused palate is obvious – as they glide in with such a smooth style – which has you beaming brightly from the glow on their undeniable enthusiasm.

We mix psychedelic stoner melodies with an in-your face post-punk attitude and infuse our performance with visual avant-garde fantasies. We sing about love, nightmares, hugging trees, drugs, wars and crossdressing.” ~ Mellow KIM

I Want More‘ from the Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel-based indie rock act Mellow KIM, is a call for that change to be made as you desire so much more than what is currently happening. The vocals are full of life and you can’t help but nod your head around to the fantastic energy from the roof-top riffs, as this is a song to turn on loud and proud. A top effort from an underground band who just make that awesome old school-sounding music, which is just really good and totally big ego-free.

Check out this top new tune on Bandcamp and see more news on FB.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Waiting to be free: Benjamin James Howard is feeling ‘Heavy’ on quality debut single

After experiencing a movie-like start to his music career with label issues and his music being shelved away into the darkness, Benjamin James Howard has persevered through all the ‘Heavy‘ times, to now thrive mightily on his debut single that opens the book, to see what the next page shall be.

Cincinnati, Ohio-based indie-folk/pop singer-songwriter Benjamin James Howard, makes that thoughtful music that has been carefully planned out from a meticulous artist, who sings about those real moments in his life, where he knows he could think a bit less sometimes to release the burden off his shoulders.

He sings with such calmness and grace as each word is easy to hear and follow, his vocals guide you through the story and you feel like you have just witnessed a song that you can relate to.

Heavy‘ from Cincinnati’s indie-pop musician Benjamin James Howard, is a heartfelt ode to his mind and those self-inflicted moments we all go through sometimes, when we overthink instead of just going for it. His sings with such truth and eloquently explains what is going on deep inside, as he tries to untangle the pages inside his head, so he can complete this book and move onto the next challenge he sets for himself.

Keeping things simple and not looking too far ahead is the best way to live but is easier said than done of course. That light touch is needed sometimes, otherwise those books on your straining head get a bit too heavy and hurt you, when they should be helping you.

See this incredibly deep track on YouTube and find out more about his rise on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen