Lotus Play

Kellie Mardula

Every Friday, Kellie shares her favorite tracks of the week alongside some special guests.

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Charlie Houston is a 21-year-old artist from Toronto, Canada. Her EP, I Hate Spring was released on April 30, 2021 to the joy of people like myself - looking to be both reminded of somatic responses to relationship ebbs and of the beauty of when they flow. As a young person navigating emotions, mental health, social media, relationships and life experiences in general, Charlie consolidates the familiar pang of regret, memory of falling prey to imposter syndrome and the like on top of peppy, uplifting beats.  The juxtaposition makes the listener feel like it will actually all be okay. One day you look back and laugh.  We discuss a wide variety of things unrelated to music, but come back at the end. Though she released music in the middle of a pandemic, it's easy to see how the people who used her tracks to soothe, vibe and share - will undoubtedly revel in the moment when they get to stand at one of her gigs, swaying back and forth, putting this weird fever dream of a year behind them, whilst holding on to the music that made it bearable.  - https://charliehouston.com/ Instagram: @charliehoustonmusic

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May 21

56 min 16 sec

This week I'm taking you back....to the first pod I recorded under the structure of a radio show. This took place in February of this year, before I'd released anything on Spotify. When I was trying to think of a format that could tie in music and conversation, I knew my first go would have to be with someone I felt comfortable messing up with.  I've known my lovely guest this week for almost six years (blink and you'll miss it). I was actually staying at his house when I got my first tattoo...that's something you don't forget. I chat with my old friend Danny Starr, a 22-year-old singer/songwriter from London. He's currently working towards his Master's in Data Science and AI while writing and recording in his flat during this global pandemic. He shares his five favorite pandemic tracks from Gorillaz to Jorja Smith to Joy Crookes and more.  If you'd like to stay in the know on Danny's latest releases follow him over on Instagram at dannystarrmusic. As you'll hear, he's got great taste and a kind soul to boot.  Thank you to Danny for always being a great person and a motivated, creative storyteller. 

May 7

17 min 18 sec

Dom Jackson a.k.a. SeeMonsters a.k.a. Dr. Mood is a photographer, comic creator and musician (even if he downplays the moniker) from Columbus, Ohio. Currently residing in Brooklyn, NY - Dom continues to create in a city that many have deemed irreparably impacted by the global pandemic.  A mass exodus saw many creatives moving out of NY - be it for monetary reasons or for, simply, more space, but Dom stayed. During the quarantine, he wrote various comics with his collaborator and illustrator Bam McCray and shot beautiful images of the people he loves and strangers with souls so loud, it would be a shame for a lens to ignore them.  One of the main reasons I really wanted to speak with Dom on this show, was to showcase the work and voice of someone who simply loves music. A guy who sees the impact of song on all the creative endeavors he pursues and excitedly shares his favorite tracks with those around him.  It's refreshing to have conversations where songs aren't ripped apart or over-analyzed - as Dr. Mood, himself, could likely attest - sometimes it's more about the music being a soundtrack to your life, than trying to figure out why it is.  - Feel free to follow Dom and Bam at the hyperlinked notes above. Dom's Patreon - https://bit.ly/2QtBonF Donna Diavolo Instagram - https://bit.ly/3nbwho4

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Apr 23

43 min 5 sec

Broken Hands are a British rock band from Canterbury, Kent comprised of Dale Norton (vocals), Callum Norton (drums), Jamie Darby (guitar), Thomas Ford (bass) and David Hardstone (guitar/keyboard). I first heard about this band at the end of 2015 when their album Turbulence was released. I used to listen to tons of new music as MD at WTBU, but when ‘Meteor’ blared through the speakers in our E-Board office I was so incredibly bummed that I couldn’t just go catch them live. One year later, I heard the band as an intern at a label, where a woman who ran the publishing department played Turbulence in the small office we all shared. Still unable to catch a live show - I knew then that I had to ask for an interview. We emailed back and forth for the piece, only to be reunited almost five years later via zoom. Broken Hands have gained the support of NME, Clash, Radio 1, Radio X and the like, sharing stages with the likes of The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Blur and more. Their second album Split In Two was released in 2020, produced by Julian Emery (Lissie, Nothing But Thieves) and mixed by Tom Dalgety (Ghost, Royal Blood). Dale and the band have a knack for knowing how to fill space in the best way. If you don’t run, you’ll want to. If you don’t speed down a highway, you will. And if you, like myself, have yet to seem them live - you’ll want nothing more than to hop on a plane, catch a bus and head down to Kent to make it happen. 

Apr 16

35 min 29 sec

'Hayley Mary; a wee pocket rocket with the voice of a giant angel. A bona fide persona with no shortage of past achievements, but they are not why we are here. Superstars live in the future.'  So it is written and so (the past) shall (not) be (discussed).  But I can't help myself - Hayley shot like a real rocket into the scene as the lead singer of The Jezabels. After the band went on an indefinite hiatus in 2017 - she went on journey of self-discovery and understanding that has led her to where she is today.  Hayley's originally from Byron Bay - a place she likens to 'a dark poem', which is a stark contrast to the vision we all have of Instagram models and Hemsworth brothers - but you'll find that she has a knack for offering fresh perspective like this.  Her latest release 'Would You Throw A Diamond?' was made from what was originally, an unfinished, discarded idea from her partner, Johnny Took (DMA's). She did to that song, what she did so well to herself after some personal hardships - she shone it up, brought it back to light and gave people a great, powerful, anthemic rock number.  Hayley is a person who says what she thinks, speaks with equal parts kindness and candor and continues to rock on towards a highway to success. Success that she is free to define for herself.  Watch Hayley's Triple J Like a Version cover of Lana Del Rey's 'Chemtrails Over the Country Club'.  Watch the video for 'Would You Throw A Diamond?" here. 

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Apr 9

44 min 10 sec

My guest today is Jack Dedman of Communion Music and Venue Group in the UK. For those that don’t know - Communion is a label, publishing and promotions company based in London. The company was founded by Ben Lovett of Mumford and Sons, Kevin Jones of Bear’s Den and producer Ian Grimble in 2006. Communion has helped to stimulate and amplify the careers of tons of amazing artists like Sam Fender, George Ezra, The Staves, Bastille, Lewis Capaldi, James Bay, Michael Kiwanuka, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Ben Howard and many more.  Prior to his current stint at CMG, Jack has worked at both 13 Artists and Yucatan Records, in addition to acting as both a manager and tour manager for up and coming artists along the way.  He has always been very kind and his passion for music and celebration of live events is something I really relate to and wanted to amplify today.

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Apr 2

39 min 24 sec

I met Tanner Williams when we worked back to back at Paradigm Talent Agency in NY. We immediately hit it off once we cracked jokes and shared stories, allowing our respective cackles to reverberate through the halls. Sometimes you just click with people and in an industry like ours, it's pivotal to recognize a real relationship when you see it.  He's sharp, creative, funny and a joy to be around. The artists he works with trust him for the same reasons that I adore him.  Tanner currently works at OVERALL MGMT, a company that manages artists like gnash, Girl Wilde, Imad Royal, alexmaax and Ilan Rubin. Post- Paradigm he worked at Full Stop Management working as day-to-day on a team for artists like Walk Off the Earth, MAX, Daya, and more.  Sometimes I truly believe that the only people who love music as much as the artists who make it, are the assistants at talent agencies, sound techs and roadies that make it all run, and the support staff at management companies; all spending long days and train rides typing up contracts and dealing with admin. After catching up with Tanner over a glass of wine, I'm almost sure of it. Although he's still in his early 20's (you're welcome, Tanner), his passion for visual storytelling and protection of creative expression make him a management force to be reckoned with. 

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Mar 27

43 min 25 sec

This is where I tell you all about Tarek Musa - the former lead singer and drummer of the acclaimed British band Spring King. A band that toured with the likes of Courtney Barnett, Slaves and Wolf Alice; that played live on Jools Holland and smashed sets at festivals like Reading & Leeds. During a seismic moment in the radio world, Zane Lowe left his home at BBC Radio 1 to spearhead Apple Music’s new efforts in the radio realm. Industry pros and fans waited to see which band would have the honor of being the first spin on this new station.  Much to the surprise of many (mostly the band) - 'City' by Spring King blared across the airwaves. Tarek Musa is now on his own journey. Not only has he produced for bands like The Big Moon, Neon Waltz, Sheafs and Dream Nails - he also handles all production, mixing, writing, instrument-playing and direction for his new project Dead Nature. When I started this podcast, I had hoped I could convince Tarek to be my guest because he embodies everything I love most about music. His journey and experiences are so vastly different to mine, yet his creative expression still resonates. He shares details of his life with me that seem like they were taken straight from a movie - one whose main character makes you feel so inspired by the end, that you start to believe that you really can do anything you set your mind to.  Dead Nature is the project of his that I love the most and I can't wait to see how it continues to evolve and take shape. Read more about Tarek at the PRS Foundation: https://prsfoundation.com/grantees/the-writer-producer-fund-tarek-musa/

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Mar 19

1 hr 8 min

Junaco means 'rolling with the pace of life, enjoying the present, living with intention and not just running to run'.  Sounds like the musical duo we all need right now. Having previously released music produced by Omar Yakar (The War on Drugs, Perfume Genius), Shahana Jaffer and Joey LaRosa have recently had an upbeat change of heart with producer James McAlister (Sufjan Stevens, Planetarium, Ester Drang) in the midst of a seismic year, which saw the tectonic plates of our perspectives shift drastically.  Though you may hear they met in the Northern mountains of California - Shahana and Joey met at music school, two artists whose artistic perspectives, I'm truly glad collided. They recently released their single "Blue Room" from their forthcoming album to be released this June.  The duo chose songs by Mulatu Astatke, Adrianne Lenker, and more to share on this episode -- all of which welcome you gently, swiftly and melodically into the world of Junaco.  Photo by Nicole Mason. 

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Mar 12

26 min 55 sec

"Personal renaissance, was burnt out just workin' at restaurants / Converse in certain lexicons, usually translates to who the fuck you think you flexin' on" - Zarathustra, Jymmy Kafka Today, Jymmy released his newest project Manna into the world. After moving to NYC from Massachusetts, Jymmy was able to record the whole project in his closet. You would never know. He once spoke in an interview about the importance of working and being successful with what you have, a lesson that reverberates through his skating community, his music and his life.  During a time when so many of us are re-imagining the world that we live in, Jymmy's work ethic, creativity and drive prove his life lesson right. If you want something to come for you, you can't wait for it to come to you. You have to go get it.  Stream Manna - out today on all platforms: https://spoti.fi/2NWQ4dT Photo: @choralemiles / Chorale Miles

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Mar 5

32 min 5 sec

Medium Build is the project of Nick Carpenter, an Atlanta-raised, singer-songwriter currently calling Anchorage, Alaska home. I came across Nick on Spotify after hearing his collaborator and friend, Quinn Christopherson's Tiny Desk submission in 2019. Two amazing artists making music with lyrics that karate kick you straight in the gut...and they live in Alaska? Say no more. Nick is a fantastic soul, but one of the things I love most about his music is how it reminded me to look outside of the major cities and states for passionate storytellers and creatives. Sometimes the artists we should be listening to are holed up in Anchorage, looking down and wondering what the hell the rest of us are doing. My short answer to that is: I have no idea.  My resolution: Listen to Medium Build. I hope you love hearing Nick talk as much as I enjoy speaking with him. 

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Feb 26

14 min 13 sec

I catch up with Virginia-native, Floyd Fuji following the successful Fall release of his EP Black Pontiac. I met Floyd when I was looking high and low for the perfect performer in Boston, someone who could captivate an audience and also extend their authenticity and soul to whoever listened. I hit the 1jackpot when we met. You can follow him on social media @floydfuji where you can hear about his next album release, appreciate his creative spirit or just let him know how fire Gelato is. 

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Feb 20

21 min 36 sec

Hey everyone! My name is Kellie Marie and I'm a 26 year old, former talent agency employee and Music Director for WTBU. I started my own blog called Lotus Play Beats in December 2014 and after a few years working behind the scenes in the music industry, I've found myself back on the site I started all those years ago while ONCE AGAIN laying in my childhood bedroom (thank you, 2020).  Tune in every Friday for some good banter, great new music and awesome stories about the gigs my friends and I helped put on, the people we've met and the places we've been.

Feb 9

30 sec