I first heard the band Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr on my favorite local radio station, KCRW. It was late in the evening and I was driving thru Griffith Park with my boyfriend and a remix of their song “Simple Girl” came on. We both pulled out our iPhones and ‘Shazam’-ed it (gotta love technology!) After downloading the duo’s album off of iTunes, I was really surprised how I couldn’t stop playing their tracks over and over. Their debut EP became a mainstay in my CD player and I couldn’t get enough. I was lucky enough to get an interview with member Joshua Epstein, days before their performance at SXSW...
Renee O: Who are your greatest musical influences? Who are your idols and why?
Joshua Epstein: The bands that made me want to be in a band were Pavement and Sunny Day Real Estate, but I was raised on Motown and Paul Simon. Currently my hero is Dr John. What a bad ass!
RO: Your debut album has been compared to works from the Beatles or The Beach Boys, what can we expect from you in the future?
JE: I think that we will always write songs that are melody centric, but the newer stuff we are working on is a little bit more deliberate and somber lyrically. I'm really excited about it.
RO: What is the songwriting process like for you?
JE: I write in my head and sing ideas into my iPhone. Then I start working them out on a classical guitar before recording a scratch version...and then deleting it eventually in favor of whatever direction we take it.
RO: What inspired you two to work together?
JE: I had always wanted to work with someone else who was fully capable of making a record alone. I heard Daniel's solo record and thought it would be a good fit. Luckily it was.
RO:You've been known to wear some pretty sick NASCAR uniforms in your videos. :) Who's idea was it to name the band after Dale Earnhardt Jr?
JE: We really never thought that anyone would hear the music we were making. When we realized that it was going to be released, we tried to quantify what our music sounded like and since it was so all over the place, the name just seemed to fit.
RO: The the delayed/parallel vocal effect coupled with the dry lead vocal track on the song 'Skeletons' is one of my favorite moments on your debut album. What songs are you most proud of?
JE: Skeletons is our favorite too. That song was recorded in a few hours and just wrote itself. I really can relate to those lyrics every single time I sing them.
RO: What's been you're greatest touring moment so far?
JE: Getting to play at big festivals has been a dream come true because you get to watch your favorite bands from behind the stage. Watching Radiohead at Bonnaroo is going to be amazing.
RO: What's playing on your iPod right now?
JE: Benoit and Sergio at the moment
RO: Who would you love to work with/tour with next?
JE: I really want to work with Gift Of Gab from Blackalicious and Slim from 112. We are trying to make that happen for the new record.
RO: What inspires you?
JE: Honestly, everything. Sometimes it's music, sometimes it's a great meal. When one is open, one is ready to receive.
The guys from Maroon 5 have certainly switched up their image for the V era — at least, visually. Their “Maps” video told the story of a fatal car crash in reverse and the just-released clip for new single “Animals” plays like a mini-horror movie. Adam Levine stars as a creepy butcher with a bad habit of stalking female customers including real-life wife Behati Prinsloo.