Sofi Tukker, Brother Sundance, and CRAY: new music explored at Voodoo Fest

Greg Fischer Editor-in-chief
Sofi Tukker

Voodoo Music + Arts Experience is bigger than ever, and it still showcases the newest and leading alternative music of the day like Sofi Tukker, Brother Sundance, and CRAY.

Brother Sundance performed early October 26 on the Wisner Stage. His EPHoney was featured as Apple Music's "New Artist of the Week" in 2017. His real name is Rylan Talerico, and he's originally from Boca Raton, Fla.

"Hardcore music is a really big thing down [in Boca Raton]," Talerico said. "I used to play in punk bands. All my roots are there, and so many people I love and respect and miss are there."

Nowadays he resides in Nashville and spends much time in Los Angeles. Talerico, who sings, plays guitar, keyboard, and drums said that his name "Brother Sundance" comes from being into the artist Father John Misty.

"I'm really into those big, larger than life names. I knew that I needed a name, and I was experimenting for months. I stumbled across the word 'sundance' and thought, 'This is really cool,' and it kind of just came together."

He added that three artists he listened to that week were Halsey, Twenty One Pilots, and Bob Dylan. After the Voodoo Fest performance, Brother Sundance said he was headed home to record new music.

"Nothing feels better than having people sing your words back to you," he said.

Next, L.A.-based CRAY said that she got into music originally wanting to become a manager, so she learned how to produce music. This is how she became an artist. CRAY performed Saturday, October 27 on the Le Plur stage.

"I've always wanted to be in the music industry," she said. "I just didn't know what I was going to do yet. I started loving making music, and to make music you have to DJ to show off your skills."

CRAY also has skills at playing video games. Just check out her Twitter or Twitch.tv pages. Moreover, CRAY's Voodoo Fest set was heavier than most of her original recordings. A lot of hardcore bass sounds and energy were incorporated.

"I used to make bass music when I started, so I'm in a transition right now from bass to more Indy Pop," CRAY said. "I'm slowly changing my set because I want to be live one day. I want to be in a band."

She added that she'll be releasing new music in the coming year, and that she loved her time in New Orleans.

"It's so awesome here!" she said. "We love this place!"

CRAY gets her stage name from her actual name, Cheney Ray. It's not because she's bat**** crazy or anything. But the last group in discussion, Sofi Tukker was made famous for a song called just that.

Sofi Tukker is categorized as a House / EDM group. The New York based duo consists of Sophie Hawley-Weld, born in Germany and Tucker Halpern, from Boston.

Halpern said that this visit to Voodoo Fest in New Orleans was kind of their first "main entrance" into the city. The night before they played at a club called Gasa Gasa, located at 4920 Freret Street.

"We met our senior years in college," Halpern said. "We both were in very different scenes and backgrounds. She was making acoustic bossa nova, and I was a house music DJ. We put the two things together and were like let's see what happens when these two things are merged."

Their most famous song though is probably one known as "Best Friend." Its video has been viewed nearly 30 million times on Youtube. Additionally, it was featured on the commercial for the Apple iPhone X.

"Apple got in touch with us," Hawley-Weld said. "We were like, 'Is this legit?'"

It was legit, and the duo said Apple has since been supportive of them. Furthermore, the duo has been on tour for two years now. They said they don't even have houses. But they have a lot of new music in the works.