HEY VIOLET / TBA
We spoke to: Rena Lovelis (vocals)
EXPECT IT: Spring 2017
WHAT’S DIFFERENT: Our sound has definitely evolved and transformed over the years. It's moving to a place where we're more capable of experimenting with new sounds and toying with synths. You can hear this already when you compare our first and second EPs, and this will definitely be clear when the album is ready.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN MAKING THE RECORD: There's a fine line between the music you're currently working on and where you could be in 10 years. We didn't want to shock our fans too much with the genre change and honestly, I think the most challenging part was finding the sweet spot of a) here is something fun, new and a nice change from the old material and b) where could we go with our music next? The middle ground was key to us.
IS IT MORE I CAN FEEL IT OR BRAND NEW MOVES? The record is more Brand New Moves. You can clearly read that just in the title! [Laughs.] We have some brand new moves we're gonna whip out for this album—although none of us can actually dance, so watch out.—Mackenzie Hall
MELANIE MARTINEZ / TBA
When AP interviewed Melanie Martinez back in September for her cover story, she revealed that her second record is a continuation of sorts from 2015's Cry Baby. For starters, that album's main character, Cry Baby, is back in the picture. "[Album number two is] about the specific place that we’ve all been to in the town that Cry Baby lives in," Martinez explains. "It’s her experience in this one place. It’s not about her talent, necessarily, but it’s about the people in that one place. That’s the best way I can explain it without giving too much away.
"It's super-creepy and darker, but [with] a little bit more [of a] hip-hop influence," she continues. "It [also] feels way more adult. It feels like she’s grown on her own. It’s interesting." Martinez herself has also certainly grown as an artist, in that she knows exactly what she wants, and has found the perfect collaborators to bring this vision to life. Her boyfriend, Michael Keenan, is producing the record, while Martinez shared she had also worked on new music with the duo Kinetics & One Love (who co-produced and co-wrote a large chunk of Cry Baby), C.J. Baran (a co-writer on "Pity Party") and songwriter Emily Warren. Her work with the latter included a song about "needing a break, and how it’s important to remember that your mental health is super-important," Martinez says. "I’m super-excited about that one."
Although it's too early to talk any sort of specifics in terms of release date or album title, Martinez was pumped about the future during her AP interview. "I’m definitely super excited for it. This is the most excited that I’ve been. For Cry Baby, I was more nervous than anything, because it was my first album. And now I’m just like, 'I want to continue the story.'" —Annie Zaleski
MACHINE GUN KELLY / TBA
EXPECT IT: Spring 2017
WHAT'S DIFFERENT: There is no underdog tone. I think I’ve spent eight to nine full-length projects being the underdog, and I told that story the best that I could have ever told it on that last album [General Admission]. Fortunately, after that album came out, my life began to change [and] with change comes new inspiration and new subject matter.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN MAKING THE RECORD: Admitting to myself that it’s okay to not be the underdog and realizing that attaining what you set out to attain from the beginning and actually accomplishing that. I think that realizing that is just as inspirational as talking about it in projecting it to happen in your future. I didn’t want Jay Z to stay a crack dealer in Marcy projects forever. I’m so thankful that he evolved and grew and showed me —as a fan and as a young man— how to grow up and boss up. A lot of people don’t watch the news. A lot of people like entertainment and music and musicians. They get to know the new trends [and] the new lifestyles: what to do, what to spend your money on, what to talk about—they get a lot of that stuff from us, so I think that I just wanted to inspire in a way of like, “Hey, now let’s take that next step together. Let’s all start bossing up.” We grew up from 18 years old together, and now we’re in our mid-20s. It’s time to go to the next step with how we handle our lives. I don’t really know. I guess it’s not that much different. It’s just strong emotions, and that’s just always what I put in my music, but I guess the thing that is different is just realizing that it’s okay to not make an album full of sad music. It’s okay to be happy and make an album. I think there’s a lot more confidence. I can’t say there’s a lot more happiness. There’s always songs that are tugging at your emotions when it comes to my songwriting, but there’s definitely more confidence. It’s kind of like that cocky mixtape Kells incorporated into some of the songs as well, which is how I came in the game. A lot of fans love that guy. They love that version of Kells—the cocky, shit talking, doesn’t give a fuck. That was a classic Kells moment, so I’m glad I got some of that on this third album.
IS IT MORE LACE UP OR GENERAL ADMISSION? I think because love is actually such a big theme in whichever part of the album it’s going to find itself in, I think that I can’t compare it to any of it. There was never a female subject outside of my daughter or my mother in any of my music, and the way I’m looking at it, there’s four or five songs, which is a big chunk of an album, that’s dedicated to this one crazy, love-hate ride that I was on with this woman. I had never done that in some of my songwriting ever before. I think this will be its own. —Rachel Campbell
DREAMCAR / TBA
Tony Kanal is beyond stoked for people to hear the debut record from his new project, Dreamcar, which features his No Doubt bandmates, Adrian Young and Tom Dumont, as well as AFI frontman Davey Havok. "I can't stop listening to it, so that's always a good sign for me," he says, while noting the band is in the "final stages" of wrapping up the album. "When I've worked on something that I can't stop listening to—and that I want to get in my car and listen to—it always makes me feel really good. You have this excitement to share it with everybody."
Although he's hesitant to give specifics as to what Dreamcar sounds like, he does allow the album is "very inspired by all the '80s stuff that we love. I would definitely say it's a rock record," and says the entire music-making process was very organic and unforced. "There was never really a conversation about what type of music we were making," he says. "We were just making music, and it just worked."—Annie Zaleski
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