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Korbee Interview

The Doobie's PR Director, Jess Ensley, sat down with Korbee at Thirty One West to discuss inspiration, touring as a couple, and Columbus' Harmony Project. 

Jess: You’re described on your website as “Coldplay meets Fleetwood Mac.” Is that where you pull inspiration from and where else do you get inspiration?

Tom: That’s just like the starting point I would say for our inspiration. We both grew up kind of listening to similar and also vastly different music. I listened to Motown and I’m also a huge fan of Springsteen, Billy Joel, and Bon Jovi. I should have been born in New Jersey.

Jenn: I grew up listening to Patty Griffin and the Indigo Girls and that sort of folk sound. My dad was a camp director, so my life was spent around a campfire with an acoustic guitar. We mesh all of that together with all of the electronic vibe that’s going on everywhere and our singer-songwriter based music. It’s been really cool.


Jess: I saw you guys have been working on your debut album, which is exciting. You’ve released the single “Hey Child” from it. Is that sort of “feel good” sound what you’re going for with the whole album?

Tom: Yes. It’s a very happy record... so far.

Jenn: It wasn’t even on purpose. That’s just the way we’ve written over the last six months.

Tom: A lot of what we’re doing on this tour is a lot of what the new record is going to be. We’re testing out a lot of this new material, along with “Hey Child.” “Hey Child” is kind of the anchor of this record.

Jenn: “Hey Child” was really that moment. When we finished it, we were really taken aback. Number one, we were like “this is either awful or amazing.” I mean, as a writer, you feel that way a lot. “Hey Child” really catapulted us on this journey of that kind of sound.


Jess: Do you guys have an idea of when the new album will be coming out?

Jenn: It should be 2017.

Tom: We’re hoping for mid to late spring.


Jess: Nice. I’m excited! So, where are you guys from and how did you meet?

Jenn: I’m originally from Wisconsin.

Tom: I’m from Cincinnati, so just down the street. We met in college.

Jenn: Yeah we went to the Cincinnati Conservatory for Music. We did a show together at school, so that’s really how we started working together.


Jess: That’s cool. Is it challenging for you to go on tour with your significant other? Have you run into any problems with that?

Tom: No! That’s the reason we did this whole thing. One of the big reasons that we became this duo is because we were both doing our things separately. Jenn had some music going on her front and I did the same thing. She was going to have to go off on her tour and I was going to have to go off on mine. We would just be ships passing in the night and that’s not what we wanted in our lives. We were always singing and writing together anyway. We just looked at each other and were like, “duh this is obvious.”

Jenn: Also, no one was doing the duo thing in this space. There are a lot of singer-songwriter country and folk duos, but doing it on this big of a scale is something no one was doing and it was really unique. We couldn’t believe we hadn’t thought of it before. Like Tom said, we always collaborated on everything whether it was for me or for him and once we said “okay let’s do this in a duo way,” it just started flying out of us. It started to really work.


Jess: How long have you been touring together? This is pretty new, right?

Tom: Yeah this tour just started. This is week three or four of this tour. The first thing we released was 2012 or 2013.

Jenn: But this is our first headlining tour that we’ve been on. It’s been really exciting.


Jess: You’ve talked about this a little bit, but do you think that your relationship has impacted your music at all or that music has impacted your relationship?

Jenn: That’s a really good question. No one ever asks the second half. Totally. Tom and I really connected in the beginning because of music and we collaborated really well and really inspired one another and really brought out the best in one another. I think that’s only continued. I think we’re doing our best writing and our best everything now. It just keeps getting better and better. A lot of people ask how we work together. What’s funny is, I think any relationship, you create a dynamic of respect and of openness.

Tom: You know, because our relationship started as a working relationship, and then it moved past that, it’s good when we’re writing together and then it’s good when we’re not. At this point, I don’t know how we separate the two. Which is great because it would be one thing if we wrote a cool song and then went home to other people and we’d have to tell somebody else, “I wrote this great song today!” We just get to be like “we wrote this great song today!” and celebrate it. And then if we’re struggling with something in a song or in our careers, we’re both doing it..

Jenn: Well, I also think that we spend so much time working together that we’ve ironed out a lot of personality differences and the ways that we deal with challenges together and all of those things. I think some couples don’t ever have the opportunity to get that far. Those experiences have helped our relationship and our relationship has helped our music.


Jess: Could you guys tell me a little bit about the Harmony Project in Columbus and what you guys are doing with that?

Tom: The Harmony Project is a really cool foundation. We got involved with them last winter. We did a show with them, which was their big benefit of the year. The whole thing was themed around our song “Loud,” which we’re performing tonight.

Jenn: We actually have a couple of the choir singers singing that song with us.

Tom: It was so funny, because they found us through YouTube, out of the blue, from something we had done with the Special Olympics. They messaged us and told us what they were about, and we were like “oh my gosh yeah we would love to do be a part of it.” And especially because it’s Ohio, I was all in. They put this huge show together. It was unbelievable. We came in and got to meet all 400 of the singers and it was nuts. We did a couple of songs with them. It was a heck of a night and they raised a good amount of money. The outreach that they have in the community and the world is just really cool.

Jenn: It’s unbelievable. Introducing people to music who would never have the opportunity is amazing.

Tom: And it’s helping communities in various ways through music. It’s not just teaching kids how to sing or getting choirs together. It’s using that to also serve the community in different outreach projects. Which is really awesome.


Jess: Cool! My last question for you guys is kind of random. If you weren’t doing music, what do you think you’d be doing?

Tom: I don’t know.

Jenn: That’s a hard question, because I think when you’re an artist of any sort, people are always like, “what’s your back up plan?” To be honest, we just never had one. I think that I could guess for days that I’d maybe be a teacher. Tom would probably be a photographer.

Tom: I think I’d be running something like the Harmony Project. I think one of our biggest missions with our music is to give it to the world and get it out there so that it can help people’s lives somehow, whether it’s small, great, whatever it is. We don’t write music for ourselves and for us to listen to in the car. We write it to impact people and help them on their journey, whatever that may be. So, I think we would both be doing something along those lines if we weren’t in music.

Jenn: Yeah. One of our main themes throughout this record and throughout everything we’ve been doing lately is empowerment. Everything is really about going, “here’s my hand and how can I help you?” The answer is you can. That’s really where our heads have gone to. It’s funny, I was saying when we write a song that’s about something or difficult or something that isn’t right in the world, or not right in our lives at the moment, for some reason, we always end up with some message that says, “you will survive. You will be able to conquer whatever you’re dealing with because that’s human nature.” That’s sort of how we’ve come to look at the world. That’s why I said that it wasn’t on purpose that this record is an uplifting and empowering record. It just kind of organically happened that way.

Tom: We need that in the world. 

Fox Sports and LA Dodgers Broadcaster Joe Davis Calls Into Big Red Sports Talk

Zach and I talked with Fox Sports/SportsNet LA broadcaster Joe Davis for last night's show. Davis graduated from Wisconsin's Beloit College in 2010 and has risen up the ranks very quickly with time at ESPN and Fox Sports. In 2016, he will also be calling 50 road games for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and he might even be receiving the torch from the immortal Vin Scully in 2017. Listen to the interview below and don't forget to subscribe to Big Red Sports Talk on iTunes and Stitcher. If you want to hear more Joe Davis, tune into this Sunday's game between the San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns on Fox.

Joe Davis - 12/7/15 by Alex Kaufman on Mixcloud

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Big Red Sports Talk Interviews Author/Journalist Robert Lipsyte

On last night's show, Zach and I debuted an interview from last week with Robert Lipsyte. A famous journalist and fiction writer, Lipsyte talked with us about his life and his multiples careers as a sports writer, young adult author, and ESPN ombudsman. He also mentioned his love for opera, that he is working on a new book, and that one of his most popular works, One Fat Summer, is being turned into a movie starring Donald Sutherland. Listen to the full interview below and subscribe to Big Red Sports Talk podcasts on iTunes and Stitcher.

Robert Lipsyte - 12/7/15 by Alex Kaufman on Mixcloud

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Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated Talks NBA On Big Red Sports Talk

I talked everything NBA with Sports Illustrated's Ben Golliver for last night's show. Golliver covered all of the major storylines, including the hot starts of the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, Kobe Bryant's demise, and even the mess that is going on in Sacramento. Listen below and subscribe to Big Red Sports Talk podcasts on iTunes and Stitcher!

Ben Golliver - 11/16/15 by Alex Kaufman on Mixcloud

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Big Red Sports Talk Interviews Cleveland Browns Legend Brian Sipe

As a Cleveland Browns fan, it has been difficult watching the team for the last 16-plus years. But it was not always this way. In 1980, the Browns were led to the playoffs by NFL MVP Brian Sipe. The 1979 and 1980 teams were known for their late-game heroics and earned the nickname "Kardiac Kids." Now 35 years since his amazing season, Sipe talked with Zach and me about his life and career. Take a listen on the player below and subscribe to Big Red Sports Talk podcasts on iTunes and Stitcher!

Brian Sipe 11/9/15 by Alex Kaufman on Mixcloud

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Joe Gatto of TruTV’s Impractical Jokers on Big Red Sports Talk

I know it isn't sports, but Impractical Jokers is one of my favorite shows on television. It stars The Tenderloins, four real life friends since high school who also just happen to do comedy together. The Tenderloins are in the midst of a nationwide comedy tour and it stops through Columbus on Sunday night for a 7 PM show at the Ohio Theater. Ahead of the group's visit to Ohio, Joe Gatto talked with Zach and me about both the television show and the comedy tour. Listen to the interview below and don't forget to subscribe to full show podcasts of Big Red Sports Talk on both iTunes and Stitcher!

Joe Gatto - 11/6/15 by Alex Kaufman on Mixcloud

Deadspin Founder Will Leitch Joins Big Red Sports Talk

Zach and I interviewed Will Leitch of Sports on Earth for last night’s Big Red Sports Talk. Leitch is also the founder of Deadspin, a well-known sports blog that is part of the Gawker media network. In the interview, Will talks about founding Deadspin, leaving the site, and his current work at Sports on Earth. Take a listen below and subscribe oniTunes and Stitcher!

Kami Mattioli of the Sporting News Calls Into Big Red Sports Talk

Last week, Zach and I became very interested in this story from the Sporting News about the demise of the Amerileague, a new professional basketball league that met its demise a day before its inaugural player draft when it was revealed that it was headed by con man and former All-American Glendon Alexander. One of the authors of that story was Kami Mattioli, SN’s college basketball editor, who called into last night’s show to talk about the mess that is/was the Amerileague. Listen in below and subscribe to Big Red Sports Talk on iTunes and Stitcher!

George Bodenheimer ’80, former President of ESPN, talks with Big Red Sports Talk

Yesterday’s Big Red Sports Talk was loaded with guests, notably former ESPN President George Bodenheimer, who graduated from Denison in 1980. Bodenheimer talked about his time at Denison and his career at the Worldwide Leader. Listen below and subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher!

Big Red Sports Talk Interviews Sports Illustrated Media Critic Richard Deitsch

Yesterday, Sports Illustrated media critic Richard Deitsch called into WDUB to talk about his career and sports media. Deitsch is no stranger to Big Red Sports Talk; he wrote about the show in May after an interview with current ESPN President John Skipper. Listen below and subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher!

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports Previews MLB Playoffs on Big Red Sports Talk

On last night’s Big Red Sports Talk, Yahoo Sports lead baseball columnist Jeff Passan called in and talked playoffs with me. Afterward, WNUR’s Ari Ross called in to gloat about the undefeated Northwestern football team. Later, I ranted about Texas football and recapped my Sports Jeopardy audition. Listen to the interviews below and subscribe to Big Red Sports Talk on iTunes and Stitcher.

Big Red Weekend Recap with Jason Miller

On last night’s Big Red Sports Talk, Denison assistant SID Jason Miller was in studio to help recap all of the teams that competed over the weekend. The recap was followed by sports trivia, college football talk, a rant on ESPN’s First Take, and more! Listen in below and be sure to subscribe to Big Red Sports Talk on iTunes and Stitcher!

Denison Linebaker Luke Romick Talks About Working with the Thirst Project

There was a football focus on last night’s Big Red Sports Talk, beginning with an in-studio interview with senior linebacker Luke Romick. For his work with the Thirst Project, Romick has been named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. He will be honored on Jan. 1 during the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La. You can listen to the interview below and subscribe to Big Red Sports Talk podcasts on iTunes and Stitcher.

Denison Football Coach Jack Hatem Calls Into Big Red Sports Talk

On last night’s Big Red Sports Talk, Zach and I talked with Denison head football coach Jack Hatem. Coach Hatem talked about his team’s week one win over Marietta and previewed their upcoming game against Oberlin. Listen to both Hatem’s call and the full show podcast below. Be sure to subscribe to Big Red Sports Talk on iTunes and Stitcher!

Former Cleveland Indians First Baseman Matt LaPorta Calls Into Big Red Sports Talk

As the title says, the former Cleveland Indians first baseman joined Big Red Sports Talk yesterday to talk about his playing career and his post-playing life, headlined by starting the NowUP Foundation. Listen below to the interview and the full show. Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher!

Big Red Sports Talk Interviews ESPN President John Skipper

On last night’s Big Red Sports Talk, your newly minted sports director debuted an interview with ESPN President John Skipper. Though Skipper himself did not go to Denison, two of his bosses (George Bodenheimer ’80 and Michael Eisner ’64) are DU alums and he had nice things to say about the university. Some of the highlights include asking him about suspensions, embracing debate, conflict of interest, and plenty more. Other topics on the show included the Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao fight and the NFL Draft. Take a listen below and be sure to subscribe on iTunes andStitcher!

Big Red Sports Talk talks with Sarah Spain of ESPN and espnW

On last night’s Big Red Sports Talk, Zach and I debated Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota, talked about why Zach owes me half of a turkey sandwich, and analyzed some incoming changes on Fox Sports 1. I also debuted an interview I recorded with Sarah Spain of ESPN and espnW. Listen on the players below and be sure to subscribe on iTunes andStitcher!