A Conversation with Joe Hertler

By: Kate Fletcher


This Friday, Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers are bringing their electric sounds to Madison all the way from Lansing, Michigan. Known for their fantastic live shows full of energy and positivity, the band has been off and on the road for the past year, touring for their latest album Terra Incognita which came out in the early months of 2015. I was lucky enough to ask Joe a couple questions over the phone as he relaxed in his hometown for a breather between tour dates. It’s been a whirlwind of a year for this uplifting artist, but his passion for his musical creations became clear to me within the first minutes of the conversation.

Trying to describe Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers to someone who is unfamiliar with the band can be quite challenging. Terra Incognita features a very broad variety of different musical styles and truly demonstrates the range of songs that the band can produce while still remaining unique with their own Rainbow Seeker brand. Hertler is well aware of this fact. While describing the writing process, he said, “I jump around a little bit! I just get bored easily, so when I write too many pop songs I’m like, ‘Alright, I gotta bring it down, get a little more sentimental.’ So that generally is the trend that usually goes from like 2-3 songs… like a couple pop songs then a couple live jams then we’ll kind of gear back towards more folky singer-songwriter style.” This mixture of tunes, stemming from a writer drawing from many different angles, makes the album an extremely interesting one to listen to.

No matter what your music taste, there will be at least one song on the album that resonates with you. His personal favorite track is ‘Betelgeuse’, explaining, “It’s definitely like a low-key track on the record and probably catered to some headphone listening… just from the song-writing perspective, it’s probably one of my favorite songs.” However, this free-flowing writing process and melodic diversity does raise some eyebrows on the corporate side of band’s music production. “With our label, I feel like the business people involved at the end of the day are always like, ‘You guys really should think about sticking to a genre’” Hertler described, “but it almost seems more natural to go with what you’re feeling at the time rather than like trying to write to, like, a certain style.” Though their label might find it more convenient for them to settle for a more specific genre, the Rainbow Seekers do not plan on doing this anytime soon. And so far, this strategy has been working, as they receive acclaim and growing crowds for their live performances.

From the back roads of Colorado to the festival circuit in Michigan, Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers have seen all different sides of America, refining their live performance all the way along. “I would say we’re a live band,” Hertler explains, “and I kind of preach that mentality to the band… The big idea behind the band is definitely the live show; that’s what we’re most proud of.” Forming relationships with good people from across the country has been one of the best parts about going on the road, Joe recounted. Genuinely friendly crowds, including some fans welcoming enough to open up their homes to the band when hotel rooms hadn’t yet been booked, are what make the shows so special. The concerts “are just a warm environment, and that’s mostly due to just people being nice.” Whether it’s the audience or the band that it emanates from, positive energy fills each venue with the sweet sweeping tunes of Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers as a vessel to spread it throughout.

After the show Friday, and the following day of binge-listening in an attempt to cope with post-concert depression, you will surely wonder, “Will there be another Rainbow Seeker album soon?” The answer isn’t clear but Joe did show his interest in getting back to the studio. “I think we’re all really craving the studio. I know I am just because we’ve been traveling around and touring but…” Hertler explained, trying to figure out how to summarize the tour vs. studio experience, “It’s spastic. Despite all the downtime, its still very one place to the next. You don’t always get a chance to hang out and get to know the area”. After the next 11 gigs coming in the October, perhaps the band will take a well deserved break before beginning the recording process again.

Ultimately, when coming to the show on Friday, leave any expectations you may have for Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers behind. They are known to surprise even seasoned fans with their fun sets and good vibes. “At the end of the day, I think the band is fully realized in a venue, in a live setting” Joe affirmed. The atmosphere in the Sett will surely be different than it has ever been in the past, and it will not be a show to miss.

square-madisonBecome a “sprightly young groove doctor” and experience Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers yourself at the Sett at 9 pm on October 9th, 2015.

Listen to Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers HERE!

Tapedeck Studyyourbuttoffday

Hello all of you sleep deprived children. It is time to move past Mifflin and Revlery and become a real human for the next week. This comprises mostly of homework and papers that we have all put off for the entire year. Below is a wonderful playlist though that will help you achieve these goals so you can survive until summer.

The Biggest Rap Albums of 2015 So Far


What’s up music lovers?! We are officially one third through the year, and music album releases–particularly in hip hop–have been high in both quantity and quality. The amount of ‘surprise’ drops we’ve seen already has been something special, and it can honestly be hard to sift through it all. That’s why we here at WUD Music have done our best to highlight some of the most prominent releases from 2015, with special commentary on our favorites. The following are listed in order of their release. Let’s dive in.

Rae Sremmurd – SremmLife

I heard “No Type” for the first time in a while last night, and it was glorious. A mood booster in any situation, Mike WiLL Made-It’s beats are designed to turn people up. While the duo known as Rae Sremmurd (‘ear’ and ‘drummers’ backwards)  are new to the bigger stage, don’t be deceived. These guys have an energy unlike many of their older rap colleagues, and this album reflects that energy.

Joey Bada$$ – B4.DA.$$

You can check my review of B4.DA.$$ for Jonk Music by clicking this long ass link here.

Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late

Year after year, Drake earns a bit more of my respect. With his shotgun drop of IYRTITL, he has finally been established in my personal lens as a legitimate hitmaker MC. Right from the opening track, “Legend” Drake uses this mixtape-album-hybrid to showcase the most boastful rap I’ve heard in recent memory. It’s confident, carefree, and chock full of lyrics ready for candid use at social gatherings (not necessarily because they’re appropriate, but because they’re fun to say). If you haven’t told someone you’ve been running through (insert your city of residence here) with your woes, you need to stop sleeping now.

Big Sean – Dark Sky Paradise

I don’t really fuck with Big Sean (as he doesn’t fuck with me, apparently), buuuuut he appears to have strung together enough songs to have a notable album in 2015.  Features from Kanye, Drake, and Lil Wayne with production credits from DJ Mustard, Boi 1-da, and Mike WiLL Made-it aren’t too shabby either. I haven’t listened to it too much, so I requisitioned the opinion of a friend for this one:

Sam would also like you to know how game-changing the extended version of “Paradise” is. Sean goes in.

Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly (By Joe McAsey)

Everyone has likely heard about Kendrick Lamar’s new record To Pimp A Butterfly, and that it is already in contention for album of the year. Any review that I can give for it would never be able to do it justice, but I hope to pinpoint at least some of the reasons why it could stand as one of the best hip hop albums of decade.

One aspect of this album that makes it so important is its cultural relevance in terms of lyrical content. With an increasing number of publicized incidents of police violence against black people, race has become a huge topic. Any given song off of the album addresses race in some way. You’ll find that Kendrick has quite a bit to say about race issues in society today.

Another interesting dimension of the record is its place in Kendrick Lamar’s discography. After releasing a classic such as good kid m.A.A.d city, it is nearly impossible to follow up and deliver. The album contains a strong funk influence, which reconnects with the some of the roots of black music and black pride. The genre also places Butterfly in a completely different realm from from his previous record. He does not try to recreate good kid m.A.A.d city, although some of the important themes carry over.

I haven’t even scratched the surface of the meaning within the album, but if you have not listened to it much or at all, you need to hear it. Even if you don’t enjoy the music itself, the lyrics say a lot about society today. If you are interested in reading more, you can check out my track breakdown off of the first song on the record “Wesley’s Theory.” This track manages to pack the major themes and metaphor of a “pimped butterfly” in under five minutes.

Thanks to Joey for this contribution. You can check out more of his stuff at Cup O’ Joe Music.

Action Bronson – Mr. Wonderful (By Brennan Haelig)

Back in March, gourmet chef-turned-MC Action Bronson released his major label debut LP Mr. Wonderful on Atlantic/Vice Records. After just the first few tracks, it’s clear that Bronson wrote the album as more of a cohesive project rather than focusing on individual tracks, even stating that “I don’t care about individual tracks, I’m trying to create a complete, classic project”. Overall the album favors production from live instruments over computerized beats. With production credits from Mark Ronson (of “Uptown Funk” fame) and Alchemist to Statik Selektah, Mr. Wonderful takes listeners on a journey through a variety of soundscapes. Most of the instrumentals are laced with influence from jazz, funk and blues. The lead single “Baby Blue” (featuring Chance The Rapper) stands out as one of the album’s most intricate tracks. Action Bronson tells a story of love lost, and makes his singing debut on the crooning chorus of the track. The album features various interludes and instrumental sections that add a nice flavor to the LP, seguing seamlessly from track to track. The lyrical content encompasses a lot of the same material we’ve heard from Action before, from lavish adventures to boastful metaphors, sprinkled with a fair share of references to marijuana and gourmet cuisine. The project concludes with “Easy Rider”, Bronsoliño’s bad-boy anthem to debauchery and the rock star life (“who gives a fuck? I’m a sinner”). The track sets the mood perfectly for Mr. Wonderful to “ride the Harley into the sunset”, closing out the album in true Action Bronson fashion.

Props to Brennan for this review. You can find him on Twitter.

I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside: An Album by Earl Sweatshirt
(by Laura Oberwetter)

2 years after the successful release of “Doris”, Earl Sweatshirt is back with the darkly minimal I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside. Doris was by no means the feel good album of the year, but it’s amusing samples and features, quick verses, and lighthearted beats are now almost completely gone. I Don’t Like Shit is a deep, grim motion of poignant maturation for Earl.

The opening track, “Huey”, is as lively as the album gets with its carefree organ and bright sound effects. Following the relatively cheerful “Huey” are songs like “Grief” and “Faucet”, laden with somber and distorted noise; the tempos lumber along so slowly that it feels like these tracks could fall apart at any moment. It’s stripped down, letting Earl and his verses take the front seat before wobbling and wavering melodies. The gloomy, bare music only makes sense paired with the lyrics. Earl Sweatshirt isn’t a “pop that molly” lyricist anymore. He talks about self-medicating to cope with the loss of his grandmother, the shadows of addiction, longing for solidarity while surrounded by people he mistrusts, and the trouble that fame and attention have brought him. It’s intimate, almost to the point of discomfort.

Although it’s a move in a new direction from his past work, this may be a more accurate representation of Earl as an artist. In at interview for NPR’s Microphone Check, Earl Sweatshirt says,“[I Don’t Like Shit I Don’t Go Outside] is the first thing that I’ve said that I fully stand behind”. It may take fans a couple listens to readjust their vision of Earl’s style, but the honesty and effort put into this album is salient, and likely well received. Some artists can’t pull off a dramatic shift in style; evidently, Earl Sweatshirt is not one of those artists.

Props to Lauren her contribution. She too, is on Twitter.

Tyler, the Creator – Cherry Bomb

Announced soon after fellow Odd Future friend Earl Sweatshirt’s album, Cherry Bomb is the most recent “surprise release” we’ve seen. What’s not a surprise is how Tyler’s sound continues to evolve, slowly shifting from internet rap to heavily jazz-influenced pieces. Tracks like “FIND YOUR WINGS”, “2SEATER”, and “FUCKING YOUNG/PERFECT” showcase Tyler’s jazzy style, while the album’s self-titled track and “DEATHCAMP” show the rapper can still exude the DGAF attitude he’s been known for. It’s wide-ranging project, so it definitely takes a more open mind to enjoy.

Hope this puts y’all on to some new stuff. By NO means is this a comprehensive list, so if you’re looking for more I would check out Wikipedia. Brennan would have you know that list does not include MOD SUN, and I would have you know it doesn’t include CRASHprez. Until next time, enjoy the Hip Hop.

Tapedeck Tuesday (Revlery 2K15)

Hello everyone this week is making it impossible to focus on classes with all the wonderful weather! We have Revelry Music and Arts Festival for you all this weekend!! And speaking of the weekend. Check out this music video for ‘Sunday Candy’ by Chance!

This weekend’s festival is featuring a ton of fun local and national acts seen below. We hope to see you there after some Mifflin festivities. Stay safe, and enjoy the last weekend before studying!

WSUM and WUD Music Present: The Podcast E01: Revelry Music and Arts Festival 2015


Saying it was easy to get a bunch of music geeks together to talk about music for a podcast would be an understatement. So here we are, with a collaboration between WSUM, the official student radio station of UW-Madison, and yours truly. Check out our preview of Revelry Music and Arts Festival below, and let us know what you think!

DISCLAIMER: The following was recorded in March of 2015, before many details regarding Revelry Music and Arts Festival were available to the public. Commentary throughout this episode is meant to provide an analysis of Revelry’s Main Stage lineup. Enjoy!

Tapedeck Tuesday 04/07/2015

Hey guys hope you all had an adventurous spring break! We’re back with some huge shows this weekend. You can check out some locals Thursday in The Sett Chris Koza and Undlin & Wolfe starting at 8pm. Following this then on Friday in Der Rathskellar is Tiny Moving Parts and over in The Sett on Friday a huge show with Foxygen and Alex Cameron. To wrap up the weekend Saturday we have a Local Hip-Hop Festival showcasing a huge lineup of local rappers in The Sett. Be sure to make it out on this packed weekend while you still don’t have to think about finals.

These 5 Fake Shows Will Change Your Outlook On Live Music

Here at WUD Music, our mission is to produce free live concerts on a weekly basis that showcase quality music by local, regional, and national acts. We even book international acts sometimes (see: Mac Demarco)!

Because of the high volume of shows we put on and the smaller venues we book for, we obviously cannot afford to produce concerts at the level of quality everyone’s favorite superstars would expect. Regardless, it’s still fun to to see how much it would cost to make these fantasies a reality.

The following show fliers represent some of the awesome design work our marketing subcommittee has been up to, as well as what we would have to charge for tickets to these uber-intimate concerts that we would all kill to witness.

1. Lady Gaga 

Fake LadyGaga

Lady Gaga has been more focused on her duets with Tony Bennett for the last year or so, but that doesn’t mean one of her solo productions doesn’t still break the bank. Ticket Price: $3,555

2. Kendrick Lamar w/ ScHoolboy Q

Fake KendrickLamar

Speaking of “Break the Bank”, how about we have ScHoolboy Q come to Madison? That would be a dope show, but if he OPENED for Kendrick Lamar?! That show would be beyond lit. With the release of To Pimp a Butterfly, Kendrick is bound to cost a bit more for live concerts, but I sense that many hip hop heads would be willing to shell out the same amount as a weekend at Lollapalooza for a TDE set in a 500-person venue.
Ticket Price: $295

3. Lana Del Rey

Fake Shows - Lana

A favorite of college students at all campuses, somber pop songstress Lana Del Rey would put on an amazing stripped-down set in Der Rathskeller. Just so long as no one tries to run up on stage and hug her to death first. Ticket Price: $688

4, Mumford and Sons

Fake Mumford

The boys are back together! After a break up/hiatus for the past year or two, Mumford and Sons return to prominence with a new album set to release on May 4th. I guess they couldn’t resist making tons of money, as evidenced by another exorbitant admission price for a nonexistent show. Ticket Price: $1,425

5. Taylor Swift

Fake Shows - TSwizzle

Oh man. This show might be the most expensive of the five, but based on her impromptu performance at the SNL 40 afterparty, at least we know she’d be nice enough to make it happen if we could shell out the dough.
Ticket Price: $4170

There you have it. Have a favorite flier? Want to know the price of a different show? Hit us up on Twitter (@WUDMusic). You can check out our REAL list of shows via our Facebook events list. We hope to see you at one of our FREE shows soon!