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Sonja Sofya talks pop studiousness, Steely Dan and feminism on the 25 O’Clock podcast

Sonja Sofya | photo by Lisa Schaffer | skylerbug.com | via facebook.com/sonjasofya

The new installment of the 25 O’Clock Podcast features Philly keyboardist, vocalist, songwriter and collaborator Sonja Sofya, who has a lively and wide-ranging 90-minute conversation with host Dan Drago.

Of course her great Patterns We Know LP, released in the fall, is discussed, as well as the work with fellow Philly artists like Ross Bellenoit that went into completing it. Sonja shares her background in studying music at a rigorous academic level during high school and college  — she admits she did not have stage parents but kinda wishes she had. She and Drago contrast classical and pop approaches to writing, and how the ideal lies somewhere in between, balancing studiousness and accessibility. Steely Dan is brought up as an example of this middle ground, and they share a laugh over the divide: people are either Steely Dan lovers or haters (they’re both lovers, I’m not). The same can also be said, they note, for Lady Gaga (which, vice versa).

But the conversation gets super interesting when Drago makes an offhand comment about the “amount of quality female-fronted music coming out of the city the past few years.” Sonja returns to that phrase, “female-fronted,” a little bit later in the show. “You feel like that’s a recent phenomenon?” she asks, turning the tables on her host, and there’s a very uncertain pause that follows. Continue reading →

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Listen to The Lawsuits’ Josh Friedman talk recording, touring and more on 25 O’Clock

The Lawsuits | Photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN
The Lawsuits | Photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN

Dan Drago, the host of the music conversation podcast 25 O’Clock, had a very special guest on this week’s show –Josh Friedman, drummer of Philly staples The Lawsuits. Listen and download the episode below, as Dan and Josh talk local venues, the band’s extensive touring schedule and unconventional recording styles, as well as discussing (with great praise) Beck’s Odelay. Continue reading →

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Ubiquitous Philadelphia videographer Bob Sweeney guests on the latest episode of 25 O’Clock

@sweeneybob recording #CoverClub

A photo posted by RDITS (@rootdownintheshadow) on

I can’t even begin to guess the number of times Bob Sweeney’s videos have appeared in the pages of The Key. Dude has worked with a remarkable range of Philadelphia artists, from Moor Mother to Nik GreeleyThe Bul Bey to The LawsuitsZilla Rocca to Queen of Jeans and more.

Bob is the guest on the latest episode of the 25 O’ Clock Podcast, and he gets in a long and wide-ranging conversation with host Dan Drago about the hustle for video work, coming of age to 90s independent cinema, the trappings of nostalgia (“it’s okay as long as you don’t live in it”) and embracing one’s roots in small town America (in Bob’s case, Scranton; in Dan’s case, Rochester). Continue reading →

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25 O’Clock celebrates 50 episodes with live music and conversation from the Philadelphia Podcast Fest

Night Windows | Photo via facebook.com/nightwindows
Ben Hughes (center) of Night Windows is featured on Episode 50 of 25 O’Clock | Photo via facebook.com/nightwindows

Time flies when you’re having fun, and suddenly here we are listening to episode 50 of a great local music podcast.

Over the last two years, host Dan Drago has had some pretty interesting guests on the 25 O’Clock show: Dani Mari, Joe Reinhart, MH the Verb, Bruno Catrambone and dozens more (even The Key’s own John Vettese!). We’ve come to expect bi-weekly installments of diverse conversation that pull back the curtain on both the music and the musicians, and this milestone recording is no different.

Continue reading →

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Listen to David Sweeny (aka Johnny Showcase) on the 25 O’Clock Podcast

Johnny Showcase
Johnny Showcase | Photo by Jeremy Quattlebaum for WXPN

Anyone who has seen a show from Johnny Showcase and The Mystic Ticket know that what they do on stage is more than just an ordinary concert. They are musicians who wholeheartedly commit themselves to taking on a character and do so to make the event an experience like no other for their audience. In describing the latest episode of his 25 O’Clock Podcast, Dan Drago admits that when he contacted David Sweeny (aka Johnny Showcase) to come on the show, Sweeny countered by asking if Drago wanted to interview Sweeny himself, or his character, being Johnny Showcase. Yes, it is a tad confusing, but it speaks to how serious Sweeny is about his transformation into a performer separate from his everyday self. Continue reading →

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Abi Reimold talks life since releasing Wriggling on the 25 O’Clock Podcast

Abi Reimold
Abi Reimold | photo by Haley Richter | haleyrichterphoto.com | courtesy of the artist

Since the January release of her LP Wriggling, Philly’s own Abi Reimold has been getting a lot of attention, including stopping by for one of The Key Studio Sessions in April. More recently, the Havertown native sat down with Dan Drago on the latest episode of his 25 O’Clock Podcast.

The two chatted for over an hour, and the range of their conversation was all over the place. They addressed what music journalism is at the moment, considering Reimold studied journalism at Temple. They talked about Wriggling and the sad state that it conveys, even though Reimold doesn’t see herself as the same person now. Drago shared his thoughts on the record as a listener, saying he hears different voices from Reimold at different points. Reimold discussed what she’s been doing off the stage, like photography and a follow up album, to what she does on it, such as making use of looping pedals. Continue reading →

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Listen to SoFAR Philly’s Carolyn Lederach on the 25 O’Clock Podcast

Carolyn Lederach
Carolyn Lederach | photo by C.J. Harvey | cjharveyart.com | courtesy of the artist

On the latest episode of the 25 O’Clock podcast, host Dan Drago shifts his sights from the scene to behind the scenes as he welcomes Carolyn Lederach to the show. Best known as curator of the mothly SoFAR Philly living room concert series, Lederach has also made a name for herself locally as a photographer, blogger and – more recently – an artist manager working with The Sun Flights and Josh Miller.

On the show, Lederach and Drago have a wide-ranging conversation. They discuss the nature of her shows and how it can be a more fulfilling experience to see an artist in a living room with 50 attentive people than in a club with 200 chatty, drunken people. Continue reading →

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Listen to Former Belle’s sweet and lofty “Honey Bee” and hear him on the 25 O’Clock podcast

Former Belle | Photo courtesy of the artist
Former Belle | Photo by Derek Fass | courtesy of the artist

Former Belle, the acoustic singer-songwriter project of Cruisr guitarist Bruno Catrambone, releases their Foreign Bed EP on April 8th and this week shared its latest track, “Honey Bee,” via Pure Volume.

The sweet four minutes of “Honey Bee” showcases Catrambone’s sense for melody with buzzing harmonies, light acoustic guitars, and timeless lyrics beyond their years. Former Belle gives Catrambone the opportunity to highlight his own musical talents while creating his own world of lyrical and melodic intensity. You can also hear Foreign Bed‘s other single, “I Woke Up In Chicago” and listen to the studio session they did with The Key here. Continue reading →

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Nerd out about everything music with Nik Greeley on the 25 O’Clock Podcast

Nik Greeley | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN | cameronpollack.500px.com
Nik Greeley | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN | cameronpollack.500px.com

If there was any doubt that he’s a massive music aficionado, the first few minutes of Nik Greeley‘s appearance on the 25 O’ Clock Podcast handily squelch them. The guy nerds out about everything from The Rolling Stones to Radiohead’s Kid A (which he first heard as a South Jersey 10-year-old kid) with host Daniel Drago, enthusing about the music he loves and how it helped shape him as an artist.

Along the way, he talks about his admiration for dedicated local promoters like the R5 Productions crew and the Ardmore Music Hall folks, discusses his fondness for the jam rock scene both local (Out of the Beardspace) and national (Phish), and tells an awesome story about meeting George Clinton. He also performs a new / unreleased acoustic number called “Maybe There’s A Reason” that has Sam Cooke vibes in spades. Continue reading →