Go Periscope
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Go Periscope

Seattle, Washington, United States

Seattle, Washington, United States
EDM Alternative

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New Year, new music! Welcome to the jump start of 2011's Needle In The Haystack. Hailing from Seattle, Go Periscope‘s music is anything but dreary. In fact, it could be the perfect antidote for the rainy landscape of the band’s homestead.

Featured in Editor 2010 Picks: Heavy Rotation Playlist, Go Periscope serves up fist pumping eighties music infused with modern twists on pop songs. They recently released a killer take of Day N’ Night (Kid Cudi) Vs. Crush Me (Go Periscope) and their cover of Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” could give the original a run for its money.

Listen and learn more in the sweet vid below, and check back over the week to see more interviews, posts and songs from Go Periscope. Also be sure to check out the homepage to grab a free download of “Crush Me”.

For fans of: 3OH3!, Odd Year, Metro Station, The All-American Rejects, Cobra Starship - MTV Music / Ourstage


Seattle's Joshua Frazier and Florin Merano have earned a few bragging rights in their two years of playing music as Go Periscope. Their music was featured on MTV reality shows "The Hills" and "The Real World," and they topped C89.5 FM's charts.

And now the electronic-pop duo has the chance to land on the front of Rolling Stone magazine.

Go Periscope is one of 16 bands facing off tournament style to be the first unsigned band to appear on a Rolling Stone cover. The winner, which will be announced on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," also receives an Atlantic Records recording contract.

Round one of the contest began last week, and you can hear and rate each band on Rolling Stone's website.

The contest draws attention to the unsigned bands, but also brings eyeballs to both of Rolling Stone's print and online publications. The voting and exploration of the bands happens online, while the prize is print.

Frazier says he's just happy the band's name is on RollingStone.com, surrounded by other artists and music news. But the thought of being on the physical cover "is probably the biggest, biggest dream come true," and the possibility of winning gives him "the shakes."

I spoke with Frazier over the phone about Go Periscope's online strategy to promote this contest, how they were selected and why being from Seattle might give them an edge over the competition.

What would it mean to be on a Rolling Stone cover, even though you've received exposure just being on the site?
To be honest, even just being one of the top 16 unsigned bands is one of the most surreal things ever. But to actually make it onto the cover, I think, for any artists, is probably the biggest, biggest dream come true if it could happen. Because, think about it: There are less Rolling Stone covers than Grammys given every year. It's literally, probably, the most prestigious thing you can get.

Just the thought that we might be one of those bands that graces the cover of Rolling Stone — I can't even wrap my head around it. I just get the shakes.

Is there something more prestigious than being on that physical cover? You're close to being on the front page on the website.
Either way it's awesome. I don't think anyone really thinks, especially when they're unsigned, that it could even be a possibility. Just being on the website and being able to go there and see us with the other great bands and the other artists and stories that are on RollingStone.com right now is just kind of crazy.

We were kept in the dark about how the whole thing was going to be announced and how it was going to work. And to see our photo on the front of Jimmy Fallon's webpage, and having him say our band name on television — it's these huge things that keep happening. [Fallon announced the contest on air.] I can't even wrap my head around it. It's just really cool.

Do you know how you were picked? How you become one of these 16 bands?
It's kind of another situation where we're in there dark about it. It wasn't a thing where they opened it up for submissions or they contacted bands. ...

It was one of those things where they contacted us and said, "Hey, you've been selected." So our manager heard of it first — that we were being considered — and to be honest it was kind of like, [sarcastically] "Yeah, right. Sure. We could be on the cover of Rolling Stone."

We're a relatively new band and our first album didn't even come out until the beginning of 2010. In band-terms, it's just so quick, and we're super thankful for that.

We don't know how we were selected. We're the only electronica band in it, so that's really weird. And we're the only band from Seattle or from the Northwest in general, which is surprising because Seattle and Portland have such insanely talented music scenes. So to be able to represent those areas — we're just so blessed and so thankful for.

How are you guys promoting yourselves?
We definitely are trying to seize the opportunity. We've had so much success being just online and really capturing friends through Facebook and through Twitter and through Myspace. And people telling people online has done so much to advance our band.

That's really something that we've embraced just in everything that we do. Now it's an extension of that. When the announcement first came out, we video taped us seeing the announcement live, because we thought that would be something cool for people to see. Then we immediately made a video and posted it on YouTube.



And we have plans to continue to do that. And just show people. We're going to be on KING 5 on Monday, and that's going to be awesome. So we're going to post a video of us from behind-the-scenes.

Anyway we can show people what it's like behind-the-scenes or how we make music, or showing us in the studio, we try to put it online.

You've already had exposure through television shows, and you were on C89.5. Have you seen a significant change in the attention or fans you - The Seattle Times


Who: Go Periscope
Where: Fox Sports Grill

When: Thursday, September 24

Full discloser: I met Go Periscope's Joshua Frazier and Florin Mehedinti at the King Cat Theatre where Basshunter performed back in June. I ran into them again post-concert at the Hurricane and proceeded to sit down (uninvited) at their table and eat most of Frazier's hashbrowns. He didn't complain once. These are nice guys.

If you don't listen to c89.5 FM: Go Periscope is a Seattle-based duo consisting of Frazier (vocals, keyboard, guitar) and Mehedinti (vocals, keyboard.) They play electronic-pop music. Their song "Crush Me" reached no. 1 on c89.5's top five most requested song list. Impressive, considering they're up against names like David Guetta, Cascada, and Lady GaGa.

A note about why they played this venue: The two-year anniversary of the social network Girl Power Hour. It should go without saying that Fox Sports Grill isn't at all ideal for live music. But really, what sports bar is?

Regarding the crowd: Really attractive people in their 20s and 30s intent on acting out their Sex and the City fantasies by wearing clothes far too fancy for anywhere in Seattle. Kudos to Mehedinti for having fun with it and rocking a bright blue hooded sweatshirt over his suit.

Performance notes: Last night marked only the second time that Go Periscope has performed live in front of an audience. They were very charismatic, but their onstage presence doesn't quite match the energy their synth-pop anthems exude. I'm attributing that to inexperience or, more likely, the fact that they were performing in a two by two foot space in Fox fucking Sports Grill. Regardless, they got the Carrie Bradshaws and Samantha Joneses in the bar to dance. Even the bartender bobbed his head along to the music.

If you want to check out Go Periscope: Their self-titled debut album is "coming soon," according to their MySpace page. They've got five tracks there that you can listen to right now. "Breathe Deception" is my favorite. It's a pop gem that you should feel guilty for loving but can't, because the guys sound so damn earnest on it. Listen to it here. But be warned, it will be stuck in your head for hours. - Seattle Weekly


In December 2008, Joshua Frazier and Florin Merano, the Seattle-based electro-pop duo Go Periscope, decided they were ready for their radio debut. Their best bet, they agreed, was to put their music in the hands of C-89.5 FM radio personality and DJ Richard J. Dalton.


Matthew Williams
Moreno achieves far greater success when not situated 40 feet above the stage while inebriated.
Details
Go Periscope ($5.90) is available for download on iTunes. The Mixtape is available for free on bandcamp.com.

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More About
Joshua FrazierThe Real World (TV Show)DJ RichardC-89 Listener Appreciation PartyArts, Entertainment, and Media
"We bought VIP passes to the C-89 Listener Appreciation Party for the sole purpose of meeting him," Frazier recalls with a sheepish laugh.

To "loosen up," the two had "some" drinks prior to embarking on their mission at Hangar 30 at Magnuson Park, says Merano. The move proved distracting. "I ended up on a platform 40 feet above the stage, which I only know because of photos on my iPhone, so it's safe to say I failed," he notes dryly. Frazier, however, stayed on track. "I saw Richard, made a beeline for him, gave him the lame 'I'm sure you get this all the time, but . . . ' line, and handed him our CD," he says.

Two months passed. "I remember getting it and adding it to a pile of mix CDs," Dalton admits. "I wasn't even sure what it was; it was labeled 'To RJD' and had a MySpace address on it with the only legible letters being 'GOP.' It looked Republican-related, so I didn't get to it real quick."

Go Periscope assumed Dalton didn't like their music or, more realistically, never even listened to it. Then they received a MySpace message from him requesting a track list so he could play some songs on the air.

"I was really impressed when I did get to it," Dalton says. "Go Periscope was ahead of the game; people were just starting to bite on music like that at the beginning of 2009."

Thanks to a manic dance smash called "Crush Me," Go Periscope has since gone on to become one of the only unsigned acts ever to top C-89's charts—besting major players like Deadmau5 and Rihanna this summer—and their music has been featured on popular TV shows like The Hills and The Real World. Not too shabby, especially given that less than two years ago, these guys were attending parties just so they could get radio jocks to give their music the time of day.

Frazier and Merano are longtime friends who attended Tyee High School in SeaTac. Frazier taught himself to play guitar and Merano became well-versed in digital audio software, but it wasn't until after graduation in 2003 that they became aware of their mutual enthusiasm for music.

"One day [Merano] casually mentioned that he made music and shared one of his songs," recalls Frazier, now 24. "I remember I got really excited. I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that he had created it on his own. Then I said, 'Hey, let me add guitar to that!' And that was how it started."

They began meeting most weekends to write, produce, and master songs in a spare bedroom they turned into a makeshift studio using mattresses to soundproof the walls. "We did at least a hundred demos," says Merano, 25. "The first one was so embarrassing that we won't even tell you the name of it. But we were determined to get really good and develop a distinct sound. We didn't sleep; we stopped going out; we were like zombies. All our friends thought we died."

At the beginning of 2010, they released an eponymous 15-track LP. Both Frazier and Merano are credited on vocals and keyboards, while Frazier also plays guitar. The album is populated by smart, unabashed pop music—think The Postal Service, but more mainstream—embellished with dance beats, layered vocals, and saccharine lyrics. So it makes sense that Go Periscope, without a hint of irony, cites Dr. Luke, the producer responsible for hits by Katy Perry and Ke$ha, as an inspiration.

"The hook is what makes you want to hear a song over and over again," Merano observes. "Hooks are everything. If we start a song and there's no obvious hook, we scrap it right away."

Go Periscope's approach has paid off. A music coordinator from Bunim/Murray Productions, a company responsible for a slew of reality TV shows, contacted Go Periscope after stumbling across their debut album on sixtyone.com, a streaming-media website that promotes music mostly by independent artists. At the time, Bunim/Murray was working on The Real World: Washington, D.C. One of the housemates who garnered the most attention on the show, which aired from December - Seattle Weekly


So who writes the lyrics and who sings?
Joshua [Frazier]: Florin sings leads and I sing the harmonies and we both write lyrics. One of us will come up with like two lines and a simple beat or riff and we trust the other person to fill in the gaps. It takes all the pressure away from like having to have all the answers or like "Okay, I have to be amazing at writing this beat, but I also need to do the guitar."

What kind of computers do you use to make your music?
Florin [Merano]: We use Macbook Pros. They've been indispensable, they're our babies.

Joshua: We've never gone to a studio and had a producer do anything for us, it's just me and him kinda figuring it out in the spare bedroom.

Florin: A lot of people ask us, you know, "Where did you get your album produced?' "Who mastered it?'" And we're just like, "That was us."

What type of music can't you stand?
Joshua: That's tough because I probably listen to everything. I even have Garth Brooks and George Strait in my CD player. I would say the only thing I can't stand is probably opera, and that's probably just 'cause I've never taken the time to appreciate it at all.



Florin: I'm different. I love opera. I've been to some opera shows and I just like the whole experience. For me, the worst type of music for me is the genre "crunk core." It's basically a mixture between screamo and rap and it's just the worst.

I liked your mashup of "Like a G6" and Owl City's "On the Wing." What was it about those songs that made you want to dig into them?
Florin: We were just like, "'Like a G6' – what a cool song. What can we mash up with that song that no one would ever think of?" But it just so happened that, you know, "Like a G6" and "On the Wing" just sounded amazing together. That's the kind of thing we really, really love doing.

What was your crappiest day job?
Florin: I worked for an airline doing "bag throwing," is what I like to call it. Essentially I'm out there no matter the weather, though I also got to travel all over the place. I went to Europe. The crappy part about it is that you're sitting there throwing baggage, you're coordinating flights, you're trying to get flights out of there on time and it's raining on you, it's snowing on you, you're de-icing aircraft, you're responsible for about 75 to 150 people because that aircraft needs to get off, needs to get de-iced.

Joshua: I worked at the movie theatre for two years in high school – it was probably the crappiest and the coolest job you could have. You got free movie tickets for you and your friends and in high school that was like gold. So I could come to the theater and get like twentyof my friends in for free, but it kind of sucked when I had to go in and work and serve people popcorn and get butter all over myself. - Rolling Stone


Who: Joshua Frazier and Florin Merano, both 26, cook up catchy synth pop in a bedroom of their Seattle house. "We rigged up a vocal booth in the closet," says Frazier.

Sound: A cross between Soft Cell and Lady Gaga. "We saw Gaga play a high school auditorium a few years ago," recalls Merano. "It was really inspiring."

Blenders: In addition to their original material, GP create DJ mash-ups (one combines Owl City's "On the Wing" with Far East Movement's "Like a G6"). "We look at a song and say, 'How can we exploit the hooks to make it even better?' " Merano says. - Rolling Stone


Go Periscope has been creating dance-friendly synth pop out of Seattle for almost two years. The duo, comprised of Florin Merano and Joshua Frazier, specialize in both original tunes and mash-ups of hot pop songs. They're also one of 16 unsigned bands in a contest where the winner will be featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Spinner talked with Florin Merano about being early adopters of technology, the validation that comes from live performance and favoring bedroom-style production. If you like what you hear, vote for Go Periscope below!

What brought you two together?

Josh was more into rock and roll and alternative music and I was more into electronic. So we both have that wide range. That's what made us want to collaborate. If you're into a certain genre too much you end up pulling toward that and sounding the same.

What are your primary influences?

We were both heavily influenced by Daft Punk. They've got more of a funky side, whereas we've got more of a Daft Punk-meets-All-American Rejects thing going on. Once Josh and I realized we should work together, we brought our own expertise. He loved to play guitar and dabble in acoustic kinds of stuff. I loved computers.




How did an acoustic musician and an electronic musician learn to write together?

When we got together to make music, we sat down and thought, Do we use traditional means? Lyrically, do we perform and try and get it down and then go into a studio, have someone produce and engineer? But we were really interested (in all the technical aspects). So we started to produce. Everything we wrote lyrically we put down right away. and then we were able to use live instruments and software to write instrumentals to back up those vocals. That's how we created our first songs. From there we taught ourselves how to engineer, mix and master those songs.

What drew you to production?

We looked at ourselves and thought about what we really wanted to be. Going into production meant that we could do this, we could create our own music without bringing in someone else. if you write a song to sound a specific way, when you have someone come through and start producing, a lot of the elements can take a different sound, a different feel. As sound designers we can go in there and really invoke that feeling, make sure the song has that feel, that vibe. I think it helps get our music out there as our music.

[Doing it ourselves] was really a big deal to us. With the industry the way it is, we're more enabled to be indie musicians, You can get out there. We did realize there were a lot of challenges in doing that. To put yourself above that pack, that saturated market, you have to really stand out. It made it harder, which was a good thing, because we have to be way more creative, we have to push to sound different.

How does your live performance compare to your records?

We try to show people how we make our music. A lot of our music isn't made on a guitar or strictly on a piano. We'll play synths live, an iPad live. I make music with the iPad. Why not? You can do it. We're early adapters of technology. Our lives shows are evolving and will always be evolving.

Why is that live evolution important to you?

It's validating your existence as a band, as opposed to just being a DJ. You really need to wow people and say, "This isn't just electronic music." Now people here really want to know how things are done. I think it's a good thing, I think artists should show off what their skills are, what their talents are. Both of us feel our talents lie in production. We're vocalists, we're instrumentalists, but more so we're producers. The production side of it, the way the music is designed, that art form, is a new and evolving thing that people can really recognize as its own talent.

What do you mean by evolution?

[The idea that] once people start realizing that everything out there has the ability to make music-every single thing. Not just things in nature, but things you wouldn't normally think would produce music. We have things on our albums, vocals that we recorded on devices that aren't usually used for recording. We use field recordings. It's a big part of our sound. We're doing things differently, trying to bring out these things.

Do you play out extensively? Or are you mostly focused on recording and producing?

We haven't done extensive touring yet. A lot of our focus is on the production, that's our talent. Right now we can go home and go into studio and create something brand-new no one's ever heard of before and put that out there. That to us is more valuable than running a full-on tour just to say you've toured. It's valuable to have that experience, to be able to do shows back-to-back on back-to-back days, definitely you can tell how grueling it is. But [production and recording] is mostly what we've done at this point.

You've been pretty DIY since the band formed. What have you learned about th - Spinner


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

The past couple of years have been a coming of age experience for Go Periscope. With many online communities embracing their particular brand of electronica meets indie-rock, the band found themselves in high demand as remixers, live performers and producers. The self-produced, “Wasted Youth” allowed the opportunity to show the artistic growth that the two members experienced since their initial release. While their eponymous debut album focused on more pop-based, feel-good songs, their sophomore release shows a developed skill in telling unique stories and covering darker territories while still maintaining the melodic sensibility that will keep old fans happy, and new fans coming. The album skews darker, older and more refined. While there are certainly dance-floor packing songs, this album pushes beyond the four-on-the-floor model for tracks like "Burning Out the Sun", that drip with the analog saturation that pays homage to the 80s-era recordings that influenced both Merano and Frazier to begin writing music. The instrumentation and vocal performance boast a unique character demonstrating how they have come into their own as a band. Go Periscope also push their production in an undeniable step forward, to claim a space all their own among their EDM contemporaries. The new album, Wasted Youth is recommended for fans of Morgan Page, M83 and Foster the People.

In February of 2011 we were named one of the top 16 unsigned bands in the U.S. and Canada by Rolling Stone - which is truly an honor.