L4LM: You’re an NYC kid, so you know the feeling of being stuck in the brutal winters up here and needing to get away. You guys are heading out to Florida for Fool’s Paradise next week for some great music and some fun in the sun. Anything in particular you’re excited about for Fool’s?MN: Just being in that part of the country again is going to be great. We have a cool connection with Florida. One of our best sets that we’ve ever played was at Hulaween in 2013. It was this crazy set where it was right after the String Cheese Incident‘s main stage headlining set, and we were on the other main stage that you had to walk by to get back to the camping, so we amassed a huge crowd. Then it started downpour raining—and very few people left. And there was this kinda legendary “Whipping Post” that went down. Years later, people would be seeing us at a small club in some random city in Florida, and come up to us and be like “Dude. Whipping Post. Hulaween Set.” That’s just one of those things that you never forget. And we’ve just heard so many great things about Fool’s Paradise, and saw some really great footage from last year. Plus, we’re super stoked because Antwaun Stanley is gonna sit in with us! So that’s gonna be really dope–Corey [Frye] and Antwaun are a pretty crazy one-two punch vocally. [You can watch a short clip of The Main Squeeze’s epic “Whipping Post” cover in the rain at Hulaween 2013 below]:L4LM: Along the same lines of that “Whipping Post” story, I also got turned onto you guys years ago was from one specific song. In college, my buddy played me an early version of “Dr. Funk” that we would rock out to in the car every day. I loved the verse where the “Doctor” is talking to his over-eager “patient,” and the whole thing is worded as a clever metaphor for a “drug” dealer slingin’ the Funk. But I was always a little bummed that the version that made it onto The Main Squeeze LP significantly toned down that reference. Was that a conscious decision to sort of dull that imagery to make the song more palatable to mainstream audiences?MN: That’s good research right there, nobody’s ever really asked about that. And it’s definitely true. Some people like the First Drops (2011) version, and some people like The Main Squeeze LP (2012) version. First Drops was our first thing, and we kinda just threw it together. The LP was a bigger undertaking, and the thinking was, ‘let’s take the best song form the EP and put it on the album too, just to strengthen it and bolster the album.’There was the question of—should we just add the old track, or re-record it. We decided to re-record, since we’d grown so much as musicians at that point, and we were making the record in this one studio so we wanted to kind of unify the sound, added a new horns section. At that point, there was a conversation about those lyrics—were they too explicitly about, like “selling drugs?” We figured there was a way we could still talk about that, but in more of a double-entendre kind of way, like it’s “ear drugs,” or it’s music, or whatever it might be. But the old version still lives on. I’m pretty sure Corey just switches it up at shows—sometimes he sings the old version, sometimes he sings the new version. It’s just one of those things where both of them live on. I think he even does it based on where we are. If it’s, like, a rowdy college crowd, sometimes he’ll just throw that old verse in. [You can watch The Main Squeeze perform “Dr. Funk” with its original lyrics below as part of their 2016 Jam In The Van session]:L4LM: The Main Squeeze hits the road next month for a nationwide tour in support of the new album. We’re really excited to be presenting your album release show for Without A Sound in Boulder on April 28th. Do you guys have anything special planned for that one?MN: That show’s going to be really sick. We’re in the process of doing all the live arrangements for our new tunes right now, and the way everything’s coming together has got us really excited. In the studio, I can lay down three or four different guitar parts, we can lay down three or four different synths, we can do a real bass and a synth bass, we can do a real drum set and add some electronic, hip-hop drums to fatten it up, stuff like that. So the challenge of taking this stuff live is, ‘how do we still portray the songs with that energy, but with just our five pieces? Boulder will be a great showcase for all these new arrangements. The town’s got a great music scene, our management is based out of Boulder, so that’s sort of becoming even more of a hot spot for us.Don’t miss The Main Squeeze at Fool’s Paradise next week, and in a city near you this Spring. For a list of tour dates, head to the band’s website. The Main Squeeze’s new album, Without A Sound will be available worldwide on April 28th. The album is available for pre-order everywhere now.[The Main Squeeze slide down the 405 late-night dance party style in their single release video below]: There’s an undeniable allure to the age-old narrative of packing up and moving to Los Angeles to try and “make it.” Just ask Max Newman, guitarist for infectiously soulful five-piece The Main Squeeze, who recently made the move from the midwest out to the City of Angels to do just that. However, for every person who makes the pilgrimage to L.A. and finds success, there are countless others who fall short and fade away, chewed up and spit out by that L.A. pipe dream–“the greatest story ever sold.” We caught up with Max to chat about the ways the band’s move to to California affected their songwriting on their stellar new LP Without A Sound, their upcoming set at Fool’s Paradise in St. Augustine, FL, the evolution of one of their fan-favorite tunes, and more:Live For Live Music: The Main Squeeze started out as a college band in Indiana and grew rapidly from there. Now you’re based out in California. How have you guys grown as a band and as musicians, going from being a college band to being a nationally touring act out of L.A.?Max Newman: The biggest shift has been realizing ourselves as songwriters. In college, it was always about having sick jams and raging shows. And it’s still about that, don’t get me wrong, but when it comes to the studio, now we really want to make great songs, songs that people all around the world and from all walks of life can really connect to. So we’ve really focused on songwriting, really thinking about what the song means and what it’s supposed to convey and going with a more direct, ‘less is more’ approach in the studio. Because obviously, we have five insane musicians who could just play a mile a minute all over the whole track, so it’s a challenge sometimes, but that’s where our focus has been.L4LM: I’m excited to hear those results. What else can you tell us about the new record, Without A Sound? [*available 4/28, pre-order now here*] I’m sure this more focused approach to songwriting is paying dividends.MN: Yea, for sure. Really, the whole thing is meant to capture our experience of moving to Los Angeles. We started working on music right when we got out here. We didn’t really have a specific plan to make an album, necessarily, but we got here and had two months before we went out on tour and sort of realized—let’s just fuckin’ do this! Let’s capture this moment of arriving in LA. It’s never going to be our first time living in this new place again. We figured as soon as we go out on tour and come back, a lot of that energy of having new surroundings dissipates since tour is this crazy grind. So it was like a race to finish this before tour. We ended up recording everything before the tour, and did all the mixing and post production in the months following that. The whole project was just about capturing that feeling.L4LM: I’ve been grooving to your new single “405” off the new album Without A Sound all day. It reminds me of why you guys caught my ear in the first place years ago. There are so many bands out there that are great and put on amazing concerts, but then you leave the show and you can’t hum one of the songs, you can’t sing along to them, there’s not that one song you rush to go find and re-listen to when you get home. But you guys have always had those great songs, in and of themselves, and I think “405” continues that trend. Like you spoke about, the vibe for the band changed a little bit when you moved out to LA, and this is of course an L.A.-themed song. It’s even got a sort of 90’s west coast hip-hop vibe–windows down, riding through palm trees…MN: Definitely. That song is all about L.A.–the lyrics, the vibe, everything–and particularly about our personal experience moving to LA. It’s cool, because it’s both speaking fondly of the city and taking a little bit of a satirical tone. And you don’t even necessary catch that dual meaning unless you’re listening closely. So obviously a lot of it is easy to understand—we moved from Chicago to L.A., and it’s like “I’m never going back to the cold.” But then it can also be sort of an anthem for anyone who’s ever moved to L.A. to pursue success—“I’m never going home, I’m never getting older, I’m never letting go”. There are so many people who come here for this pipe dream—ourselves included—just trying to become something. You hear about it all the time. So it’s about that sort of popular L.A. narrative of coming here and trying to “make it.” But there’s always this interesting undertone, where it’s a constant revolving door here. So many people that come here leave within a few years, and it’s like—what happens to those people? For a while, the big line in the chorus was “the greatest story ever told,” and then the day before we went into the studio, we changed it to “the greatest story ever sold.” That was just this little piece of satire—L.A. is selling this insane life and dream to people, and its nothing against L.A., it’s just the nature of the beast. “Late night slide down the 405,” the 405 is a main highway in L.A., it’s the highway that leads to our house. And there’s no underlying meaning to that, it’s just a late night drive, just cruising to this. But that one little line flips the script, turns it into something a little deeper.[You can stream The Main Squeeze’s band new single “405” below]:
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Australia’s Santos has secured a drilling rig for its Dorado appraisal campaign located in WA-437-P offshore Australia scheduled to start in April next year.For illustration: A Noble Corp.-owned jack-up rig. Source: Flickr; Author: SP MacThe joint venture partners in exploration permit WA-437-P are Carnarvon with a 20% interest and Santos, the operator, with an 80% interest.Carnarvon said on Tuesday that the shallow water depths mean that the joint venture can utilize a cost-effective jack-up drilling rig for its Dorado appraisal wells and that it had secured the Noble Tom Prosser jack-up rig for the wells.The Noble Tom Prosser was also used to drill the Roc-1 discovery in this area in 2016.Two wellsThe 2019 drilling program is expected to include two Dorado appraisal wells that will focus on gaining further information on the volume of oil, gas and condensate discovered in the Dorado-1 well to build proved reserves which will underpin the Dorado development.Carnarvon said that the drilling of the first well is scheduled to start around April 2019.The wells will also focus on determining the flow properties of those hydrocarbons from the reservoirs intersected in order to optimize the Dorado development and obtaining additional data at different locations within the Dorado field.Carnarvon Managing Director, Adrian Cook, said: “The incredible Dorado discovery earlier this year means we are highly motivated to appraise the oil, gas and condensate within the structure. The objective in 2019 is to enhance our understanding of the volume of the resources recoverable and move to making a Final Investment Decision for development ideally in 2020.”The Noble Corporation-owned jack-up Noble Tom Prosser recently finished the Bayu Undan infill well program for ConocoPhillips in the Timor Sea. The drilling program consisted of two platform wells and one subsea well connecting into existing offshore infrastructure.
DT: What has been on the biggest adjustment living in Japan?Sakai: Obviously, it’s a whole different country with different customs, and a whole language I’ve never studied before. In order to apply for the JET program, knowing Japanese is not a requirement … I can communicate a lot easier than I could when I first got here … All the people around me, their English has improved through talking with me and my Japanese has improved through talking with them so mutually we’ve just been helping each other learn a lot. Daily Trojan: What does your job entail?Teach · Teresa Sakai majored in social sciences and English at USC. – Photo courtesy of Teresa Sakai Teresa Sakai: My job ranges from visiting elementary schools to implement the English program there to visiting junior high schools and team teaching with a Japanese English teacher to holding my own English class for adults and children. That’s just my experience, but every situation is different depending on what the needs of the town are and how many schools there are in the town.DT: How did your education at USC help you in your career?Sakai: As an English major I can present myself with a professional air and I can see where certain mistakes are being made in the language with the students that are practicing. DT: How did you end up teaching in Japan?Sakai: I was going through the career fair last fall at USC. I knew I wanted to be a teacher, but I wanted to get some experience before going to grad school. I was basically looking for anything teaching-related because I know it’s difficult to get an actual education job without higher education and I saw the booth for the JET program … It seemed like a great opportunity because I love to travel and I really wanted to just try and get some experience. DT: In your experience what are some of the greatest cultural differences between Japan and Southern California?Sakai: All the students in Japan from junior high to older wear uniforms to school, and I grew up in Southern California so this threw me off at first. Also, the school system is a little different. Instead of the students going form classroom to classroom and the teacher staying put, the students stay in home room, and the teachers move from classroom to classroom. And you find with in the Japanese language you address people based on their seniority. There’s a very high level of respect for people that may be your superiors and you express it. DT: How were you affected by the recent natural disasters?Sakai: Of course everybody in Japan has been affected. My island is north of everything that’s been going on and my town is on the south coast so we felt the earthquake at a three or four magnitude. Earthquakes happen here all the time so at first it didn’t seem like a huge deal until we saw the news coverage of what was going on. And since my town is coastal we had some damage — the water levels near the harbor rose three meters, which resulted in a lot of flooding. But no one was hurt, which is really great … Also my area does not have the rolling blackouts … I visited Tokyo two weeks ago when my parents came to visit and life is going on as usual. The perseverance of the Japanese people is really amazing. Teresa Sakai, who majored in social sciences and English, is an assistant language teacher for the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme in Hokkaido, Japan. She graduated from USC last May. The Daily Trojan spoke with Sakai about her work. DT: What is one of your greatest college memories?Sakai: I just love the football atmosphere. That’s been really hard for me to miss out on. I’ve been going to ’SC football games since I was in high school. So fall and autumn to me means football season. Just everyone wearing their school colors and supporting the school no matter what, I really miss the school pride. You can bet I’m always wearing my cardinal and gold on what would be game day and now my students know a little bit about American football.