The Likes Of Us
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The Likes Of Us

North Hollywood, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | INDIE

North Hollywood, California, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2012
Duo Pop Acoustic

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"Los Angeles and Love Songs"

With a sound that fuses the current acoustic stylings of Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat with the old soul of Nat King Cole, The Likes of Us have a unique sonic approach that hearkens back to days before synthesizers took over the music landscape. The Likes of Us consists of Benj and Katrina, who started out as a long-distance duo before finally relocating to LA to pursue music together. Read on to learn more about how they came together, what they have lined up, and where you can go to get your hands on their music (for free!).

Hey, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Tell us a little about how the band came together and where you’re from.

Benj: Katrina and I were introduced through a mutual producer and friend when I lived in Oklahoma and she lived in Denver. We began writing together long distance and since both of us are studio engineers, we would track pieces of songs and send them back and forth. Eventually, many of our songs came out as beautiful duets because of that process. I moved to LA in November of 2011 and Katrina moved to LA in June of 2012. We decided that releasing these duets would be fun, so we put everything together and started giving it away for free on Noisetrade.

How did you guys come up with your name?

Katrina: We wanted something retro and nostalgic feeling; something that seemed to be of another era. We were doing a writing session with Bryce Soderberg of Lifehouse and he suggested The Likes of You. Since there are two of us, we changed it to ‘us’ and it just stuck!
What genre of music would you say you are and what made you want to go in that direction?
Benj: We play 1940's inspired pop/jazz. We both have a love for the jazz chords of that era as well as the super melodic feel and the difficult harmonies. We went in that direction naturally before we really realized what we were doing. Not a lot of people really create music in that genre right now, so we like to think that we are bring it to a new generation while adding a current flavor.

That actually sounds like a really unique addition to the music landscape! Do you guys happen to have any projects lined up? Are you recording anything new right now or lining up show dates?

Katrina: We have a few dates in San Diego, Anaheim, Colorado, and Oklahoma coming up. We are working on producing our first original music video and hopefully a few more cover videos as well. We had a lot of success with re-working Justin Bieber’s As Long As You Love Me as a duet, so we are hoping to do more fun projects like that.

What would you say is the band’s favorite track to play and listen to?

Benj: I love listening to Charity because I had written it about my grandparents and their incredible love story. They had such a deep commitment to each other and it really affected my upbringing. After we turned that song into a duet, it came to life because you felt like you were actually hearing these two people struggle and thrive and fall more in love with each other.

Katrina: My favorite to play and listen to has to be My Oh My. It’s a feel good song with such a sweet message of letting love happen, not forcing it. I love playing it live because we can really get the crowd involved with singing it along with us.

Who writes the songs? Do you write them together or do you trade off?

Benj: We both write the songs, for the most part. We both have tracks on this record that we wrote separately from each other before we even knew we were going to be a part of this. I am a producer-by-day as well as a writer so I wrote a lot of the parts for the musicians and mixed and edited everything in my studio. Katrina is brilliant with lyrics and hooks so we really mesh well. Knowing that either one of us can do this on our own makes working together so sweet because we both pull our weight.

Are there any particular themes you try to stick to when writing music and lyrics?

Katrina: We tend to write love songs, I’m not really sure why either. They come naturally to us and people can really relate to them. There is something really sweet about our approach to writing duets because it’s fairly innocent. We aren’t trying to push any thematic boundaries or trying to see how far we can go without being crass. We are just singing about love and having a good time.

Bands go through a lot together, whether playing shows or making music, what’s one of your favorite memories during the time you two have been together?

Katrina: We pulled several all-nighters to get the album done on time. One of my favorite memories was recording the vocals for Charity. That was such a difficult song to get through without crying, it is so emotional. We sat facing each other at 2am one night with two mics and recorded the parts at the same time, playing off the emotions of the song. It was memorable because it was such a beautiful struggle, but it was so worth it. We get so many comments on that song and the emotions you can hear in every line - Progressive Man


"The Likes Of Us"

Concept albums typically deal with a topic or an idea, but what if you took a style of music and decided to make an album? Ask The Likes Of Us, a duo of Benj Heard and Katrina Stone, who realized a musical connection over 40s love songs and thought that it was the perfect way to create a sound and an album. The Likes of Us is an ambitious project, one that is both unique and feels like an old vinyl that your grandparents wore out 50 years ago. It’s a project that promises something from the past and delivers in every way possible.

In Moulin Rouge, Nicole Kidman sings, “Some people wanna fill the world with silly love songs.” This album is a lot like Ewan McGregor replying, “Well, what’s wrong with that” I’d like to know.” These songs, their music and lyrics, are some of the most upbeat, happy, love songs you could find. Not only that, but this album captures a bunch of different kinds of love in its lyrics and many different styles of music as well. It’s a brilliantly crafted album (and it’s free!).

The album starts with “No Cure For Love”, a song about how love makes you feel. It’s a sweet upbeat song, led by a great bass line. We’ve all felt that moment when you’re falling in love with someone and you feel like you’re losing control of your emotions, for better or worse, and this song captures it perfectly. The doctor says, “Your affliction is affection./ You’ve fallen in love for sure./ Ain’t no prescription for what you mention./ I’m sorry, but there’s no cure for love.” Another great upbeat track, this time utilizing the ukulele, is “Love Like This”. While all these songs are a little cliche, they sound honest nonetheless. This track is about how you always want another minute with the person you love and realizing that the love you feel is rare. “Love like this comes once in a lifetime, once every thousand years./ Just one more kiss could lead back to this night, back to you, my dear.”

“Smooth Movin’” is a little bit country and a little bit swing. It’s a conversation between a man and a woman about a dance and it’s great. “Lovesick” has a tradition 1940s sound with a piano and some soft drums. “Dream a Little Dream of Me” is also a traditional song, a song that would be a great fit for a first dance. It’s about being far apart from each other and still feeling the love that keeps people together. “Stars faded, but I linger on dear.”

There are two stand out tracks on the album. The first is “More Than Friends”, a self explanatory song about wanting to be, you guessed it, more than friends. What’s beautiful about this song is the interplay between the two sets of vocals. It’s from the perspective of both people in the situation and that makes it mean something different. “I wanna be more than friends,/ because you’re complicating the mood I’m in.” It’s a simple line with more meaning than you hear on first listen. The second, and best track, on the album is “My Oh My”, a ukulele led song that features some great vocal work from the backing choir and the way the lines alternate between singers is a perfect way to write this song. When the Stone sings “But I’m afraid to fall in love” and Heard replies “You don’t have to worry, dear, cause I’ll give you a shove,” you realize the group’s talent for writing simple lyrics that perfectly captures an emotion and feeling.

The Likes of Us is just two people writing music that means something to them and it shows. The band has created an album full of love songs that, while not for everyone, are certainly perfect for some people. Take the time to listen to and enjoy these songs and you’ll find yourself singing along even if you’re more cynical than these two musicians. - Ear To The Ground


"Oh Child"

“The easy comparison that we’ve made several times already for The Likes of Us is the Civil Wars. I mean they are THAT GOOD. But at the same time this track has its own spirit and power to it. The vocal style here is really enthralling. The way that the vocal dynamics grow through the song shows an incredible amount of power in their vocals. I like them both and they seem like one of those acts where the duo is better than the sum of its parts. They are really amazing.” - Ear To The Ground


"Shake Me"

“The highly anticipated third full album by indie group The Likes Of Us was just released. Gas Maskers, we can't get enough of their new single.Shake Me is an acoustic tune wrapped in earthy sounds and chill vibes. The song is a slow, steady paced plea of a lover needing to be saved and “shook.” The Americana nature brings a natural and honest tone to the piece. That being said,it's easy to listen to on repeat.” - Gas Mask Magazine


"Roots & Wings"

The Likes Of Us chooses an authentic approach with its jazz pop feel of “Roots & Wings”. With a warmth courtesy of eschewing any synthesized sound, the songs have an intimacy to them. At times the group harks back to the joy of the big-band sound, while at others they delve into a visceral form of Americana. Over the course of the album The Likes Of Us prove to be adept storytellers, weavings thoughtful narratives throughout. Indeed, the true soul comes from the impassioned vocals which soar up to the heavens. - Beach Sloth


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

The Likes Of Us

Between their mutual affinity for retro-tinted duets and the fact that its members have logged countless miles on the road to recognition, it’s only fitting to find The Likes Of Us playing and promoting their third full-length studio project Roots & Wings in cities all over the U.S. Setting out on a cross country tour in the spring of 2018, the roots/pop duo will be creating their signature fully immersive listening experience that captures the senses thanks to the pair’s perfectly blended throw-back vocal arrangements. For those who take the time to dig deeper than the musical enchantments that could come across as the love child of The Civil Wars and Sam Smith, there’s a myriad of emotions that span the landscape of heartache to hope to self-exploration and empowerment, all while marking many firsts for The Likes Of Us.

“This album was such a beautiful struggle. We make music to talk directly to people and let them know that we’ve been there: the happy moments, the struggling on-your-knees prayers, the in between times. Parts of it are dark and dirty, parts of it are merciful and bright, the rest of it is whatever you want it to be,” explains Katrina Stone, a Van’s Warped Tour alum, a two-time We Are Listening Songwriting Competition Grand Prize Winner, who’s also shared the stage with Graffiti6, Everclear, All American Rejects and Hey Monday (Cassadee Pope). “I think our fans will love seeing the more personal spiritual side of who we are as people. We wanted to challenge ourselves to write about life and love from that perspective.”

"Unlike the last two albums, everything on Roots & Wings was crafted using all acoustic instruments,” explains Benj Heard, also a dozen-year production, songwriting, scoring and performance veteran whose credits and collaborations include Colbie Caillat, Dia Frampton, Blake Lewis, Eamon, members of The Offspring and Lifehouse, plus sync placements with Hulu, Netflix, Apple, and Samsung. “When the vision of this album started taking shape, we realized what kinds of musical and production boundaries we needed in place to make it sound set apart from your typical roots/gospel album. That definitely made things more challenging, but ultimately gave it a fresh sound full of folk-ternative instruments and pop-tinged rootsy moments.

”The connectivity throughout the project is evident time and time again, serving up a wide-ranging palette of passion, plenty of relatable soul-searching and staunch authenticity at every turn. “There is heart and soul and struggle and deliverance and grace in every breath of this record,” suggests Katrina. “It’s another piece of our story that we hope becomes part of your story.”

Band Members