Festivals Q&A Videos

Video Interview: The Ting Tings

The Ting Tings exploded onto the music scene with catchy dance track, “That’s Not My Name”  two years ago. Their songs have become staples at clubs and bars ever since.

I sat down with Katie White and Jules De Martino last summer when they were in town for All Points West. Watch below as the UK sensation discuss the success of their album, hit single and being fashion icons. For more, be sure to visit their Web site.


Video credit: Wendy Hu

Festivals Interviews

The Ting Tings

The Ting Tings exploded in America last summer with their hit, “That’s Not My Name.” Since then, UK duo Katie White and Jules De Martino, have been traveling the world in support of their album, We Started Nothing.

I sat down with White and De Martino when they were in town for All Points West. Watch below as the UK sensation discuss the success of their album, hit single and being fashion icons. For more, be sure to visit their Web site and be on the lookout for their upcoming album, Massage Kunst due out later this year!


Festivals Interviews

PT Walkley

Photo Credit: Wendy Hu

A versatile songwriter, PT Walkley has penned scores for numerous Ed Burns films, popular commercials such as MasterCard and GE, as well as his recent debut solo release, Mr. Macy Wakes Alone. An intriguing album, the storyline follows three main characters – Audrey Macy, a spoiled trust fund kid who plots her father’s murder, Calvin the Coroner, an aspiring singer-songwriter infatuated with Audrey, and Mr. Macy, Audrey’s father and evil record executive.

Walkley has said he hopes to bring back cover to cover listening and seemingly does so, as the characters and themes on each track intermingle throughout the album. I met with Walkley at All Points West and learned about his writing process, the tales behind his music and his view on performing: “If the core of the song is good, it’ll translate.”

Do you prepare differently for a festival than your own show?
Well, we definitely wanted to do the most singalong able songs. Anything with a lot of “la-la-la’s” and “oh’s and ah’s” and one word hooks like “Somebody” has. A lot of times the set can get a little mellow, which works in some environments, but when you’re trying to appeal to a bunch of people you want to rock a little more. We had a bunch more in the set, but today it was running a couple hours late so we only got to do a portion of the set, which was still great. We had a good time.

Do you feel the crowd was receptive?
Yeah. I think the crowd was locked up for hours and hours and were just ready to hear any music they could, so we got the benefit of that. By the time we went on, people were just ready to listen and have a good time.

What’s going through your head while you’re performing onstage?
Usually, it’s “Don’t screw up,” anything from that to really trying to engage with the crowd and getting into the performance and connect back to the song. At this point, you performed it so many times that sometimes you’re just running through the motions and hitting the notes or not. Connecting back to the core of the song is the important thing.

Tell me about your latest release, Mr. Macy Wakes Alone. I read in an interview that you wanted to bring back cover to cover album listening.
I had access to all these great players and I had a lot of bigger ideas floating around in my head with string quartets and crossing the genres of country, pedal steel and all the instrumentation that goes along with all the different styles. I wanted to somehow harness all of that and tie it together with a little storyline so I did that with Audrey Macy, Calvin and the Mr. Macy storyline.

The trick was to try to give it one voice throughout even though it kind of goes all over the place. I’m happy with the way it came out. I think it really worked. We put a little intro and it has the button lift and “Somebody” melody and string arrangement at the end, which was the final cherry on top where I was like, “Okay, now I think it’s a concept record.”

How did you come up with the three main characters throughout the album?
I came up with this Audrey Macy character. I think that was first. She was based on an amalgamation of different people that I’ve met and some fiction too. A spoiled brat kid who hatches the evil plan to kill her rich Daddy. And then it was like, who is the rich Daddy and why would she kill this guy? Calvin the Coroner was just a throwaway line, she pays off Calvin the Coroner to get what she wants and then I elaborated into that. Then it spun into he was infatuated with her as a kid so he’ll do anything. He assumes, “Oh, she’ll come back some day” but she comes back to pay him off. He must be thinking, “Oh, I knew you’d come back,” but it’s really that she wants to bribe him. It’s important for me to tape these things. I’ll just spout out ideas and play and free form songs and take the good stuff and let the garbage go out the window.

You’ve written music for Ed Burns’ films and commercials. How is the process different writing an album vs. a 30-second commercial spot?
The assignments are always a lot easier when there is definite direction. It’s like, “Okay it should have this feel” and the commercials are really fun that way because you get to do a lot of different styles. That learned me the different genres a little bit. Whether it’s dance stuff or orchestral arrangements or mariachi band version of this. Sometimes you get crazy direction from clients. The assignment is usually fairly easy to cover, but figuring out what I really want to do and if it’s something I’m really going to be proud of and make my own sound is sort of hard to land on sometimes. That can take a long time.

How did you originally get into music?
You know, it was kind of late in the game. I think my parents got me a guitar when I was 15 and I took one lesson and was like, “Oh, that’s kind of like homework. I don’t want to do that.” So, I put it under the bed for a few years and then I picked it up again in college and started playing along to old Velvet Underground records and things that are easy enough for a beginner to feel like he actually knows how to play. Then it just spun from there. I started in a band in college just playing guitar and once I moved to New York I had a landslide of ideas and it just never stopped. I try to be as productive as I can. It’s good to have different avenues for all those things because all the ideas need homes, whether they’re goofy, kazoo melodies that I would never release on a record or something deep and meaningful. I feel lucky to have all the different outlets.

Do you feel a song comes out better when it actually happened to you?
Yeah, I think so. I think it has more lasting. Sometimes you can capture a character and you’re happy to sing. It’s always good when it comes from a real place. My life’s not incredibly interesting, so I try to get creative when I can. We’ve all been through some shit, so it’s good to tap into that and when you do you’ve got something really good.

Are you ever afraid to reveal too much because the person you’re singing about might be in the crowd?
I was for a while. I was just having fun with melodies and throwing out words that sounded good together. I have this other band, The Blue Jackets, and that’s fun, it’s more of a rock band and then I put out this Track Rabbit album a couple years ago. But this album, Mr. Macy Wakes Alone, even though it’s mostly character based, there is a lot of me in there. I really wanted to go inside a little more and reach from personal experience. Even in the fictional songs, I would use those characters to speak for, like a ventriloquist dummy. There is some of me in all those songs.

Chris Martin originally heard you sing wi
th your band The Blue Jackets and had you open for Coldplay.

Yeah, through Ed Burns. We had been friends for a while, I had been doing the scores for his movies and I started a side band and it started getting more and more serious. We got offered the spot to open for Coldplay and it was unbelievable. It was at Madison Square Garden. Through that I’ve gotten to know Chris a little bit. He and Eddie are friends. So yeah, that was my first brush with them and tonight I’m looking forward to seeing them again. To see how they’ve come along, I hear they’re doing well [Laughs].

What’s your advice to aspiring musicians?
It sounds so corny at this point, but God, just believe in yourself and keep going. A lot of things come your way and it’s real easy to give up. There’s going to be a lot of crappy days and a lot of things that don’t work out but if you know you’re good, you usually figure that out at some point and just keep going.

For more on PT Walkley, be sure to visit him on MySpace and if you’re in New York or D.C., catch one of his shows in the upcoming weeks.

You can also read this interview on


All Points West : Music, Mud Wrestling, and Beer Gardens

Photo Credit: Wendy Hu

Despite torrential downpour, tornado and hail warnings, thousands of people packed a very wet and muddy Liberty State Park this past weekend for the second annual All Points West Music & Arts Festival. With headlining sets by Jay-Z, Tool and Coldplay, music fans trekked through fields, which felt more like rivers, throughout the three-day festival.

Referred by many as All Points WET, Sunday’s four-hour rain delay resulted in multiple canceled performances and scaled down sets. New Jersey favorites The Gaslight Anthem was just one example. The band recently released a statement requesting fans to bring their APW ticket stub for a free drink at their upcoming October 15th New York show.

Rain aside, festivalgoers had many performances to choose from. With three main stages, acts ranged from comedy to music with carnival-esque concession stands as well as beer gardens and misting stations set up throughout the grounds to combat the heat. Friday highlights included Fleet Foxes, The National, Vampire Weekend, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Jay-Z headlining on the main stage.

With a fitting tribute to former headliners Beastie Boys and Michael Jackson, Jay-Z covered “No Sleep till Brooklyn” as well as Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” “We don’t mark death, we celebrate life. Don’t wait ‘til someone’s gone to appreciate them,” Jay-Z told the crowd.

Saturday proved more promising as the clouds parted and the sun dried some of the grounds. Sets by St. Vincent, My Bloody Valentine, Arctic Monkeys and the Ting Tings proved festival favorites while celebs like Courtney Love and Entourage heartthrob Adrian Grenier were spotted.

The steady rainfall and four-hour delay Sunday didn’t stop concertgoers from having fun, as many were seen dancing in mud puddles and creating mud slides. Unfortunately, some highly anticipated sets were canceled, but Coldplay’s 90-minute performance made up for it. Like Jay-Z, the band paid tribute to the Beastie Boys and Michael Jackson. A few feet from the main stage, frontman Chris Martin performed “Fight For Your Right (To Party)” solo on piano. Later, the band joined him for “Billy Jean.”

Always comical, after traipsing through the mud onto a third stage in the middle of the field, Martin realized what festivalgoers dealt with the entire weekend. “We have infinite respect for you now that we had to walk through that shit. Wish we had backstage passes for all of you,” he said.

While backstage passes would have been a nice end to the weekend, the festival showcased multiple first-rate performances, albeit a bit muddy. Just a taste of what Woodstock must have been like 40 years ago, All Points West proved that music fans will suffer the elements to see a worthy live show. This past weekend was living proof.

You can read this article, originally posted on


All Points West Weekend!

You can follow my All Points West adventures this weekend on Twitter. I’ll have plenty of interviews and festival coverage for you in the following days including interviews with The Ting Tings, The Gaslight Anthem and Chairlift so stay tuned for some video footage. Love to know any questions you may be dying to ask these bands! Feel free to direct message me on Twitter, since I’ll have my phone with me all weekend but no Internet access.

For more on All Points West, check out the official Web site. Read Rolling Stone‘s top 24 must see acts, here. Who did they leave out? Who are you dying to catch live? Updates to come!


Poll of the Week: Which All Points West Headliner Are You Most Excited About?

Just a few days ago I was credentialed for New Jersey’s very own summer music festival — All Points West! I’m still in the process of setting up interviews with this year’s lineup but I’d love to know which headliner’s performance you’re most excited to read about. The headliners for this year are below:


All Points West takes place this coming Friday, July 31 – Sunday, August 2 at Liberty State Park. Check out the lineup here and let me know which bands you’d like to see covered on You Sing, I Write.
Contest Festivals

Win Tickets to All Points West Music Festival!

In it’s second year, All Points West Music Festival brings as versatile a lineup as they come. With sets by Coldplay, Beastie Boys, Tool, Vampire Weekend, The Ting Tings, The Gaslight Anthem and many more, the three day festival at Liberty State Park in New Jersey is sure to draw a crowd. Do you want to go?

Here’s your chance. You can enter to win a trip to All Points West by visiting one of the stores on this list, or signing up online here. Prize includes a pair of tickets for all three days of the festival (July 31 – August 2) as well as travel and hotel accommodations. Good luck!

For more information and a full festival lineup click here.


Poll of the Week: What Festival Are You Looking Forward To?

I just posted this week’s poll of the week on the sidebar: What festival are you most looking forward to?

I know there are tons of festivals going on from now through the end of the summer so I picked the five most prominent ones as options. If I left one out that you think should have been considered, be sure to add it in the comments! Your options are:



Vans Warped Tour


All Points West

You have from now until next Sunday night to vote, so get on it! Can’t wait to see which one’s the winner.