Here at DamnMag, we’re forever inspired by musicians. Part of their ability to inspire is the power of music to break down barriers.

Now, we’ve talked about music’s ability to break down barriers before, but after speaking to Joe Trohman of Fall Out Boy (for our feature “Fall Out Boy Saves More Than Rock and Roll”) I realized music does more than just dissolve barriers, it fights against barriers being put up in the first place. We feel more connected to people who are similar to us. This relatability is very powerful. It can turn “Us vs. Them” into just “Us.”

In fact, recent research shows we can use what we have in common to make us more open-minded to how we differ.

But how does music do this? Well, for one: music travels. Fans of the same group may exist all over the world.

But musicians also travel. And they bring their experiences back home to be expressed in terms their fans can relate to and understand.

In an attempt to dissolve the “Us vs. Them,” we interview 10 musicians from around the world and get a bird’s eye view on the debate around the changing music landscape of YouTube vs. garage band. Members of Atlas Genius, Capital Cities, Youngblood Hawke, plus industry veterans like Eve and LP, and many more, open up the discussion around how musicians make it today. From talent contests and YouTube videos, to the underground and garage bands, read more in the feature “10 Musicians Talk ‘Bedroom Stars’.”

Going from the bedroom to the sleeper car, we speak to a musician travelling around North America aboard a tricked-out train using musicians as the vehicle for bringing people together in “A Musical Train Brings Awareness To Hunger.”

Musicians are also breaking down genre barriers. While we were taking a peek under country star Brett Kissel’s cowboy hat (“Hat’s Off to Brett Kissel”), he told me he’s all for the fusion of genres, like country with pop, as it helps expose fans to new kinds of music.

Music festivals are preparing for even more merging of genres in the new year, with niche festivals taking on mainstream acts in order to stay afloat. We explore why the Top 40 Festival Invasion may not be such a bad thing.

Inspiring us into 2014 is the UK band The Dunwells. These lads from just outside Leeds chat with us about making waves across the pond in “The Dunwells Inspire Into The New Year.”

Meanwhile, globetrotter Anders Drerup recounts his point of view playing in “Satan’s Playground” in “What Didn’t Stay In Vegas: A Musician’s Fabulous Las Vegas P.O.V.”

Also in this issue, breakfast with rising Toronto-based actor and rapper iSH, see how The Maine are using analog technology to take control of their creativity, and check out (in alphabetical order) bands you shouldn’t judge based on their name in “Great Bands, Crap Names.”

We want to get to know you better too. Like us on Facebook for a chance to win a rare Fall Out Boy poster, signed by the poster’s artist Jeral Tidwell. Plus, check out the new DamnMag store, full of unique hand-crafted pieces made just for people who give a damn.






Emily Kennedy | Founding Editor

emily at damnmag dot com

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