My first jam for Saturday was with Spanish Gold, a side project from Patrick Hallahan, the drummer for My Morning Jacket. They hit me with funky little rock tunes emitting undertones reminiscent of the Black Keys.
Forecastle turned up the funk and soul with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. Before their set I ran into Bosco, the lead guitar for the Dap Kings, out in the crowd. We chatted about their recent tour that kicked off at almost the moment Sharon was done with her last treatment in her battle with cancer. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings just got back to the states from a lengthy European tour and Forecastle was their last show before they went home. And with home in site, they livened up the crowd before they got down with some dirty dancing.
Even though Band of Horses was formed in Seattle, lead singer Ben Bridwell hasn’t forgotten his South Carolina roots. Soft spoken to begin with, the band slowly joined the Ben on stage to progress the set of new and old tracks into an orgasm of sound.
As every square inch of grass filled with toes and trash, the Jack White stage crew prepared for lift off. The stage crew looked like Amish gangsters, with their lengthy ZZ Top-esque beards and Blues Brothers style suits. The crowd was filled with Jack White fans of all types: The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather, or any of the bands on his Third Man Record label.
In front of me I met a Third Man Family. Mom, Dad and Daughter were all wearing Third Man shirts. I leaned over to the Dad and said “Your family has good taste.” He looked at me and replied, “I have three daughters. One likes One Direction, the other likes Taylor Swift, and my youngest likes Jack White. I GOT ONE!” I think she was about 8 years old. Later on, during the show, White had the mom and daughter pulled from the crowd to watch from the side of the stage. The dad looked at me with tears in his eyes, pointing to the side of the stage, repeatedly exclaiming, “That’s MY DAUGHTER!” I’ve never seen a parent more proud… and I was proud of her too.
I’ve never seen a shuttle launch in person, but it’s the only thing I could compare Jack White’s set to. That, or the explosion of a nuclear bomb. It was a truly mind-blowing performance. White appeared as though he wanted to make eye contact with every single person in the crowd. He played his ass off for the front row… and for those in the parking lot across the street just trying to catch as much noise as possible.
To the audience’s surprise and delight, White played an additional 30 minutes after his set time should have ended. Being from Detroit and a certified music genius, it’s probably easy to lose track of time, especially when he’s mashing up “Icky Thump” and “99 Problems” with lines like, “I got 99 problems but the bitch ain’t home!” I’ve always been a fan of The White Stripes, but Jack White’s set has converted me into a disciple of anything the Detroit Savior has to offer.
All photos by John Ellison.
Reflecting on Electric Forest 2014 brings back memories of mystical occurrences, mind blowing shows, and mass amounts of positive vibes. While many may be talking about The String Cheese Incident, or perhaps maybe even Flying Lotus, there is one lesser-known group that deserves to be talked about: Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds. They performed, hands-down, one of the most powerful sets of the weekend.
Wiping up a flavorful mix of blues, rock, funk, jazz, and a hearty dose of soul. Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds command The Forest stage on Saturday afternoon June 28th, their set came with an in-your-face attitude and masterful musicianship. It was a quaint stage nestled beneath the pine trees in the northeast corner of the venue, decorated with an elegant blue curtain, gold candlestick chandelier, and a backdrop that looked like the hallway of a fancy palace.
Given the early evening set time, the crowd was lackluster, but the lack of enthusiasm did not prevent Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds from performing at 110% and rocking well past 11 (Spinal Tap reference). Their performance was straight from the heart and it was clear that they let nothing hold them back.
Beginning with an original song entitled “The Long Way” the group’s guitarist, Sasha Brown, started a twisting guitar lick. His tone was crisp with a hint of distortion. The guitar line was held under control, yet poised to peak at any moment. Eventually drummer Bram Kincheloe joined in with a steady bass drum build-up. The rest of the band accompanied the bass drum hits by clapping along.
“Please clap along with us,” Arleigh Kincheloe, The groups singer, addressed the crowd.
When everyone was clapping, the group propelled into the tune, unleashing their groovy spell upon the audience.
At one point the brass section – which consisted of Baritone saxophonist Brian Graham and trumpeter Phil Rodriquez – came in with a sound straight off the streets of New Orleans. Graham’s bari Sax produced a rich, velvety bass tone while Rodriquez used a plunger mute to produce the squawking wah-wahs associated with the dirty blues. Rodriquez eventually ditched the mute and began to serenade the crowd with a soulful vocal like trumpet solo. Graham also added tasteful high hat hits for a few measures before launching the band into the next piece. Launching is no understatement either; the band literally jumped into the piece.
Sparrow and the Dirty bird’s crowd was radiating positivity throughout the whole set. One individual placed a bubble-blowing contraption on the stage- a simple act that produced a mass amount of bubbles, but also produced a mass amount of smiles. Those smiles, along with the soothing grooves of Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds sent the crowd to another level of positivity.
Pulling out what would be the musical equivalent of a rabbit in a hat, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds performed a combination of Rage Against the Machine’s “Bulls on Parade” and Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll”. Arleigh’s vocals and harmonica player Jackson Kincheloe’s blazing harmonica solo gave Led Zeppelin a run for their money.
Sister Sparrows and the Dirty Bird’s set has left its mark. When the show ended singer Arleigh Kincheloe stayed on stage to speak with the crowd, shake hands, accept compliments, and thank those who stuck around. The gesture was one of a truly caring musician. Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds delivered a set full of mind-blowing musicianship and massive amounts of positive vibes.
The funk was knee-deep last Thursday night at the Parliament Funkadelic show. The balconies were brimming and hummed in anticipation of the evening’s set. Earlier, a line of people snaked around the front of the building as fans waited in the rain to be admitted. Once they stepped foot into the vicinity, these lightly drizzled fans were greeted by the warm rhythms of the opening act, Sun Stereo.
Built with a strong brass section, Sun Stereo supplied a heavy hit of electronic-based funk. The lead singer was the focal point of the band, and his deep vocals were the perfect ingredient for the group’s synth and bass elements. Equipped with an onstage LED hooper, this band was the ideal pregame for the noise that George Clinton would soon be sharing.
After Sun Stereo had loosed up the crowd with their own tunes, it was time for the patriarchs of this blessed funk genre to grace the stage. It was like Sun Stereo was standing in the shadow of their own grandparents. As the whole Parliament Funkadelic clique docked the stage, the crowd scooted closer. The entire ensemble was on stage tuning their strings and tapping their keys, while the room waited for George Clinton’s presence.
Finally, the familiar tune to “Flashlight” pumped over the speakers, and Clinton hopped onto stage. He and the gang rocketed into the song, and the show began. During a stretched out jam, Clinton’s granddaughter came out on stage, as they proceeded to spark and share a joint. The entire venue cheered as the members passed it around the band on stage. After a while, Clinton stepped back and lounged on stage, as various members of the collective took the limelight.
Each member was extraordinarily talented, whether it was a guitarist melting the fretboard, or a female singer with a goddesses voice. Every participant contributed to the intricately woven quilt that is Parliament Funkadelic, even the guy in the fuzzy Stetson wearing what looked like a dildo on his nose. During “Knee-Deep”, the building entered a groove like trance, where most everyone stayed, and grooved for the remainder of the set.
For rock n’ roll classics like George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, there was nothing more that could’ve been desired by the crowd. Even though they only played a handful of songs, they jammed them for long periods. They packed the house, and definitely tore the roof off the mutha-sucka harder than any other 73 year old alive. Hell, they rocked the Vogue harder than most recent acts could. It was an evening of pure, funky vibes, and for that Indianapolis thanks the granddaddies of funk, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic.
Photos by Aaron Lingenfelter of FX Media Solutions and Wide Aperture Images. Click here to see the full album.
Last Friday, a relatively new 9-piece band hailing from Chicago made their way down to Indianapolis to send the weekend warriors of Naptown out into the fray at The Vogue. My god, did they do it right. Overall, it was a night specializing in all things groovy with local acts Breakdown Kings and Audiodacity coming out in support of the out-of-town headliners to give fans a hell of a show and something to remember for weeks to come.
The night began with Audiodacity’s signature blend of brass and beat, giving the crowd a sense for the funk that was soon to come with the rest of the set. Starting with a small gathering in front of the stage, the crowd grew as their show progressed. The six-piece Indy-bred band powered through their set with drive and determination, leaving everyone in the crowd smiling as they morphed their bodies to the pulse of the beat.
Following their set was Breakdown Kings, another one of Indy’s own rockin’-soulfunk-hip hop revivalists with something to prove. Having never seen them before, this writer was left surprised as songs like “Monster”, “Pow”, and what can be only guessed as “Balls Deep (In Your Love)” were dropped. The latter of the 3 songs, a love song of sorts written for a girl at the farmer’s market, got the entire crowd laughing and dancing at the same time- always a welcome combination.
And then, with the crowd hyped and reaching for more, it was on to the headliners of the night: Chicago Loud 9.
For those who don’t know, Chicago Loud 9 is an amalgamation of 9 members from 5 former acts/bands: ‘grunge-funk rockers Eleven Dollar Life, roots-reggae outfit Drop Steady, cover bands Dr. Rock / On The Radio, and rapper-MC Pro Blak The Don’, according to their website. Funk, grunge, reggae, hip-hop; it’s all one with these guys. No boundaries; nothing off limits. They play what the moment calls for, and they do it damn well.
Taking the stage and starting the set off in an energetic frenzy, one felt the fuel that was about to burn throughout the performance. After a brazen start, they eventually fell into the chill and groovy intro to, “Brainfield” with a solid drum groove that led into some serious flow from Pro Blak aka Don D. Immediately after the first verse the song unleashed itself, blending funky brass, solid guitar work, and singing/rapping exchanges between the two vocalists.
Soon, an unexpected cover broke out: “Spottieottiedopalicious” by Outkast (if you don’t know this song, look it up now. It’s the 21st century; don’t deprive yourself of this classic). Once the solo-laden instrumental took off and wound itself back down to baseline it was time again for some original tunes, breaking into “Ratso”. A funk-rocker that melds its way into some reggae inspired rap verses, “Ratso” laid it down heavy before closing up shop to set up for the next track.
The show continued, eventually building up to the party rocker, “After Party”. During the climax of the song, J-Bone (percussion/keys) ran out from behind his post to revive the tiring dance party. Clearing out a section of the crowd before launching a backflip off of the stage, he ended the move off with some breakdance skills that could start a b-boy battle.
After this uncommon bit of showmanship, Chicago Loud 9 departed the stage just ahead of the loud mass of cheers that chased backstage after them. Not gone for long, they returned to drop the single from the cLoud9 EP on us, “Chill (Wait)”. As the hip-hop/ska groove culminated into one final climax they left us yet again. And then the chanting began…
“ONE MORE SONG! ONE MORE SONG! ONE MORE SONG!” the crowd cried, jeering the band away from their comfortable reprieve and back onto the stage. Starting back up with a high-energy drumbeat that quickly progressed into an all-out jam the MC announced, “We don’t even know what we’re about to play, y’all are beautiful Indianapolis!”
That, my friends, is a beautiful feeling and the mark of a true band, true artists, and true entertainers. In that moment, the music held us together- sweet, punctual sounds moving in harmony to create something bigger than us all. They could have easily left the crowd there, wanting more, ending the night at that moment-but they wanted to keep playing; one could feel it. After completing the unknown 2nd encore, they retired for the night, leaving the crowd sweating with their hands in the air and eyes to the sky. The feeling that we were left with was pure elation- something that no action or thing can replace except for real, heartfelt, music; it was the feeling of [biological] ecstasy at its finest.
In retrospect, this writer is still smiling about the show, it’s energy, and the bands that gave us that feeling. There was no better place to be in Indianapolis that night, one can be sure of it. Fresh, original, music played by three different sets of skilled songsters- what more is there to want out of life?
Tear it Up
Almost Let it Get to Me
Can’t Hardly Wait
25 or 6
Neva Comin’ Back
[Unknown Second Encore]
Get the cLoud9 EP here
Find more photos from the show here
This rock, soul, and funk collective is famous for their rambunctious and infectious live performances. From their Star Trek influenced costumes to their psychedelic sounds, this group’s show is wild.
Having been active for over 40 years in some way or another, this outfit has influenced genres across the board. The early 90’s G-Funk style, crafted by Dr. Dre, owes much of its deep groove to the rhythms of Parliament Funkadelic. The Red Hot Chili Peppers have attributed much of their funk to the “P-Funk” themselves.
Spearheaded by George Clinton, one of the most creative and charismatic musicians of the past 50 years, P-Funk has strong credibility. This group was ranked number six by Spin Magazine’s “50 Greatest Bands of All Time”. The band has claimed six number one hits on the Billboard charts during their career, and 15 members have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
With all title-dropping aside, this group has rocked into everyone’s ear-buds whether on purpose or not. “Atomic Dog” remains one of hip-hop’s most sampled beats of all time, and “Flashlight” remains a staple on almost any respectable classic rock station.
So there it is ladies and gentleman, one of the most influential rock bands will be at The Vogue in two weeks, and there’s no excuse to stay at home. “Aquaboogie” your booty on over to The Vogue to partake in what most certainly will be an entertaining evening. Don’t be a sucka!
The Vogue Theatre
6259 College Ave
Doors at 8 PM
Show at 9 PM
Lofty comparisons abound when the name TAUK surfaces. Some have likened them to Phish, and others to Lotus. Tones of Umphrey’s McGee are present, too. However, while their experimental prog-rock style brings those names to mind, their sound manages to be something wholly unique.
These guys have been touring relentlessly for the past year hitting festivals like Summer Camp, and playing a NYE Phish after party. They’ve been busy promoting their 2013 release Homunculus, produced by Robert Caranzza (Mars Volta, Jack Johnson), and their trail has led them to The Mousetrap. Catch them there live on May 17th. In preparation for their upcoming gig, they answered some questions for their ever growing fan base.
MOJO: Your single “Dead Signal” has been broadcast on SiriusXM’s Jam On. How has it been received?
TAUK: Very well! It feels great when people text me or post on our wall about how they heard the song and loved it!
MOJO: How does it feel to have a single released on such a prominent station?
TAUK: Pretty surreal. I finally heard our song “In The Basement of the Alamo” on it the other day. Besides the excitement of our having our music played on a notional platform. It feels great knowing that we got on there because we have some great fans who push our music really hard. Thanks to them!
MOJO: Your album Homunculus has been out for a year now, are you currently working on anything else?
TAUK: We are putting the finishing touches on the next album right now!
MOJO: What was it like recording with Robert Caranzza? Do you have plans to work with him again?
TAUK: Robert is sitting in front of me at the mixing board at this very moment. He knows us as band and as people so well at this point that he’s basically another member of the band. Robert is one of best there is hands down. Glad to have him in our corner.
MOJO: You’ve had the opportunity to tour with lots of exciting artists (Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Lettuce), what’ve you learned from working with them?
TAUK: We have been lucky to open for a lot of well established and successful bands. I would say the greatest thing I learned from bands like Lettuce and KDTU is that they are still normal, humble, hardworking people. Being great people is a big part of what got them to where they are, not just being amazing musicians.
MOJO: What’re you planning to bring to the stage here in Indy?
TAUK: A patented TAUK throw down!
5565 Keystone Ave
It’s a Friday night in Indianapolis and what’s there to do? On normal nights, this inquiry might pose a more serious question. Last weekend, however, the answer was quite simple. One phrase, five words, nothing more. Papadosio and The Main Squeeze. A righteous show, put simply.
For those of you who don’t know, Papadosio and The Main Squeeze are both bands that honed their chops in the Midwest. Papadosio first made their mark in Athens, Ohio before moving out to Asheville, North Carolina. The Main Squeeze are Hoosiers at heart, starting out in Bloomington before picking up and heading up to Chicago, Illinois. Jamtronica and Funk are their styles, respectively, if you could boil it down to one descriptor apiece. An awesome but odd combo for most shows. In this case, epic is the word that first comes to mind. And, on that brisk night, fans made their way to the Old National Centre for their night of festivities and frivolity.
Once inside the venue and two steps down the stairs the temperature change was already noticeable. Hot, humid air that comes to greet you and only means one thing… This sh** is rockin’. Fans showed up early to support both bands, something lost on many of today’s show-goers. It was due to the quality of the music, no doubt.
The Main Squeeze brought it hard and played a noteworthy set, kicking things off with the
fast paced rocker, “Where Do We Go?”, from their self-titled debut album. Moving on to some staple crowd favorites they jammed through two dance-fueling songs that harken back to the good ol’ Bloomington days. After this little funk rollercoaster they dropped a bombshell that nobody was prepared for: Sam Brouse and Rob McConnell of Papadosio sat in with The
Squeeze, cranking out some righteous tunes and keeping the heat wave rolling.
After an interesting interpretation of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, they brought out their cathartic magnum opus of a showstopper, “I’ll Take Another”. The feeling of this song live is indescribable; every soul should experience it, multiple times perhaps. Closing out with one final track, they left behind a boisterous crowd that was sweating, screaming, and wanting more.
Then came time for the main attraction. Papadosio, the infinitely skilled and ever exploring quintet, was set to take the stage. The lights dimmed and mouths erupted into one steady cheer as the crowd drew closer. The dance party, my friends, would soon to be at its peak. Dosio (the go-to name for many) surprised fans by bringing them in gently with a slow and cascading rendition of “Right Now”, a synth laden acousto-electric hybrid off of their newest album, T.E.T.I.O.S. Surprises awaited as Corey Frye of The Main Squeeze stepped onstage for the next performance; bringing the house down with an exquisitely brooding and intense version of “T.V. Song”.
After being released from the dark grip of the T.V., the journey continued onward. With their unique blend of electronically driven harmonium Papadosio had the crowd entranced. The intense harmony of both electric and acoustic vibrations, their signature sound, is nearly impossible to describe except that it feels surprisingly at home in the heart and the bones. This writer is currently trying to figure out how to put it to words. One must find it for themself.
As smiles abounded and hugs were exchanged a crowd favorite, “All I Knew”, took everyone by the shirttails and left for another rollercoaster, destined with more peaks and valleys for all to experience. And then it was on to set break. Goodbye. Au revoir. Auf Wiedersehen. For now…
Picking up right where they left off, Papadosio blasted through the second set with an eclectic mix of tracks spanning their entire career: “We Are Water” and “Oracle Theme” from T.E.T.I.O.S., “By the Light of the Stars” and “Unparalyzer” from the By the Light of the Stars EP, “Night Colors” from Observations, and “Taking Turns” which has yet to be released outside of live recordings. Tired and exhilarated, the crowd watched Dosio leave the stage, soon to return with a feverish abandon that only a “Snorkel” encore can muster. An incendiary drumbeat soon warming up into reverb laced guitar lines and soaring synths, the crowd was immediately transported to another planet. The song ebbed and flowed and brought all of the night’s frivolities to a peak, culminating in one final climax. And, with that, the show was over.
In retrospect it was a night well done but over too soon. Friends were made and good times were had. Smiles were served, and all was well in the world. Indianapolis had its own little bit of magic that night. We came, we saw, and music conquered.
T.V. Song (w/ Corey Frye)
You and Yourself
All I Knew
We Are Water
By the Light of the Stars
The Main Squeeze Setlist:
Where Do We Go?
Funky Good Time (Intro)
Loud (w/ Sam Brouse)
Tank X-ing (w/ Rob McConnel)
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
I’ll Take Another
Message to the Lonely
Blasting horns, honey-soaked vocals, and a beat to twist to, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings sound like an American Bandstand transplant. Get your dancing shoes ready, because they’re coming to The Vogue March 4th. Also, if you feel the desire to kick off said shoes and channel your inner boogie, have no fear, it’s perfectly normal. Aside from being empowering and soulful, these guys are just simply fabulous musicians.
Sharon Jones and her band have got the 60’s-70’s identity locked down, although they were founded in the early 2000s. Their funky brand of soul music has made them one of the most celebrated retro bands in the country. Echoing the music of Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, and James Brown, this band succeeds in tapping into the funk-soul sound of earlier times. This is no easy feat as it takes real talent to succeed in modern times with an “outdated” theme. None the less, as Sharon Jones’ popularity grows, so does her mainstream success. She and the Dap Kings had a cameo in Scorsese’s The Great Gatsby, and now they’re touring to support their most recent effort Give the People What They Want.
In June 2013 Jones was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and although chemotherapy has claimed her famous braids, her vitality and energy remain steadfast. In the video for, “Stranger to Happiness”, she is seen vivaciously performing onstage despite having been diagnosed with cancer in the past few months. Now in good health, Sharon and her Dap Kings are embarking on a world-wide tour, and their performance in Indy should be terrific.
Remember to wear your boogie-woogie shoes to The Vogue for Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, because it’s gonna be funky.
The Vogue Theater
Tuesday March 4th, 8:00 PM
Tickets – $26.00-$30.00
Quick! Blend a cup of Pretty Lights with the zest of one Polish Ambassador. Now add a smidgen of Griz, a dash of Zoogma, and a splash of vocals. Stir with a tablespoon of James Brown. And… voila! You’ve got something that might resemble The Floozies’ special recipe for their newest album, Tell Your Mother (found for free at flooziesduo.com).
Featuring 10 tracks of steady funk grooves and released under Griz’s record label, Liberated Music, it’s The Floozies’ first full-length studio album to date. Trust us, it doesn’t disappoint. Steeped in quirky drums, heavy synth work, and tight-yet-wacked-out guitar lines; Tell Your Mother characterizes The Floozies’ signature blend of EDM with all things funky.
For instance, take the track, “Love, Sex, and Fancy Things”. Starting with a slow, Curtis Mayfield tinged guitar riff, it quickly shifts to a hard-hitting glitch-funk banger worthy of any dance floor. Tracks like “Set Break” show a more laid back and melodic, yet still groovy, vibe. “One Word” takes it back up a notch to to alien level funk, throwing in a multitude of vocal samples and warped out synths to get the boogie going. “Italian Chandelier”, one of the more guitar-heavy tracks on Tell Your Mother, rounds out the album and shows why The Floozies are at the top of their game right now.
Spending the past year writing new material and honing their chops on the nightclub and festival circuits, these guys are a band to watch. With a heavy touring schedule, you should have a chance to catch them soon in a town near you. So, just as momma warned you, keep an eye out for those damn Floozies; the rest of the country seems to be. Just head over to their Facebook page and watch the number of likes skyrocket; they’ve gone up by 2000 since I started keeping track. Hell, do we smell a drinking game?
While many of us attend festivals regularly, not all of us get the chance to sit down, have a drink and just kick it over casual conversation with the bands we pay to see. As a writer I feel that if I have the chance to make that connection for an audience then I should take it, which is exactly what I did at this years Mojostock, held annually at the Sleepybear Campground in Noblesville, IN.
Mojostock provided a nice dark, dank and cool “green room” in the back of an old barn that enabled talent and media to get out of the sun, relax and chat. I took this chance to sit down with the Max Allen Band comprised of Dace Robie (Bass), Max Allen (Guitar, vocals) and Shaan France (Drums, vocals) and ask some raw questions that sometimes people just forget to ask. I invite you to take a look as we discuss their rise in the scene, the future of the band, the influence of EDM music and drug use in the local music community.
CL: As kids how did you first get into music?
Dace: As a kid I started playing saxophone in the school band, and later on I picked up the bass. Then I went to butler for 4 years, studied composition there, played bass in the orchestra and the jazz band there, and was pretty much a school kid.
Shaan: Same thing for me, I played percussion in the middle school band and in high school. I went to college, got a music education degree with an emphasis in percussion. Played in jazz bands, and the drum set has just always been there.
Max: I know it sounds weird to say it but I’ve been playing guitar for 21 years.
CL: And how old are you?
Max: 29, and I have just been playing on the scene for 14 years and it has been my only job since 15. It’s just been a constant, every day just DO SOMETHING, that’s something my father would always tell me, just do something every day. This is some advice I could give any musician trying to make it, which is just do something. Every day do something to try to help benefit your career. Whether it be small or large.
CL: So how did you get started being a touring Midwest band?
Max: I started playing the bar seen about age 15-16 and did a lot of blues stuff. I played a lot, had the whole child prodigy thing going, which helped getting a lot of gigs and press. This helped me get a name for myself, after which I kind of changed and started listening to the jam scene like the Funky Meters, John Scofield, Phish and we started changing the whole band. We picked up Dace about 4 years ago, but Shaan and I have been playing together for about 7 years.
CL: In terms of marketing, have you stayed primarily grassroots, or have you utilized the rise of digital marketing as it has grown around you in the years that you have risen as a recognized band?
Dace: Social media is a means to an end, but it is not THE end, because there is a lot of noise on the Internet. And when everybody is blowing your shit up on Twitter or Facebook, especially about coming to your show you kind of become numb to it all. It is still about what people listen to, what their friends listen too.
Shaan: In the same sense though we still challenge any big band out there, that’s our thing. Yeah this band has that; that band has this; but give us a shot, we will impress you.
Max: We’ve been told we have the sound of a bigger band. For a three piece band we have a BIG sound.
CL: Being a smaller band that’s been around for some time, do peoples perception of you as being small effect how much you get paid in comparison to a larger band that hasn’t been around as long?
Max: sometimes venues are more compassionate towards bigger bands, because it costs more with all those people out on the road. But we can take some lower paying shows that are more for publicity and it doesn’t hurt as hard. Really it’s a numbers game and you get paid more if you bring more people, and it’s just a matter of building your fan base as big as possible.
CL: So Dace and Shaan, you both said you had classical training where as Max it seems like you were already on the scene so to say, were you going to any of these small music festivals or “hippie gatherings” or did you just stumble upon it?
Shaan: I was, I’m a little bit older and I’m not gonna give out my age, but I started doing festivals a long time ago, and drum set was just something that was always there. For me and for what I grew up doing, being an orchestral percussionist, drum set was always there. So when I moved here in 1998 I didn’t know anybody and I was looking for a way to play jazz vibes but everybody was saying they needed a drum set so I started picking that up. Really you just have to sell yourselves. We’re musicians; we’re prostitutes; you just gotta get out there and sell yourself. You have to be your own salesman. You’re the employer, the employee. You gotta push your own self.
Dace: When I started playing bass I wanted to play in a rock band. When I went to college I wanted to write orchestral pieces. By the time I got out of college I was playing in a rock band, so I came full circle.
Max: I did a lot of training with random instructors, and the one instructor I took most of my instructions from was a professor from Butler. I studied classical guitar for 4 years or so and just being in the field playing shows. I’ve been conditioned to get paid with money, food and booze.
CL: Being classical musicians, musicians of rock bands, how do you see electronic music taking over or influencing the scene?
Dace: Everything coexists now. We’ve talked to some booking agents that say rock bands are in limbo, nobody wants to book rock bands. It’s all EDM or its bluegrass. Its like people either want all computers, or they want absolutely nothing to do with computers. I think things never take over completely and things never go away completely its just all a big conversation. I see that computers are going to be more common, it’s going to become an important scene and its good to see Indianapolis catching up with a lot of music scenes. But really it’s all about finding your right demographic, obviously it wont appeal to every band.
Max: I’d like to say that where we’re going with the whole EDM thing, we’re a hybrid, we’re not afraid to use it. And some musicians are very traditional and completely turn their noses up to any sort of electronic or any backing tracks. I think if it makes the song or makes the performance more entertaining, if it fills up the space, I don’t see why you shouldn’t use it. You are only shorting yourself. You want to stay with the times, but you also want to stay true to yourself.
CL: As a band, how do you see yourselves evolving? Do you see yourself changing from where you were a year ago?
Max: Oh yeah, were completely different then where we were a year ago. There were some people that hadn’t seen us in over a year until last week, and they were just completely blown away. They could see all the work we’ve done, and it’s great because we all come from different backgrounds. We’re not afraid to go outside of our comfort zone to find something that sounds good. Regardless of what it is, there is somebody out there that gets in their car on the way to work and it just fucking pumps them up for the day, and it can just totally make their day. So we try to be as best of observers as possible and use it to our advantage.
CL: What is the 6-12 month plan, or direction that you see for the band?
Max: We’ve been talking to some agencies about getting us down south more. Colorado is always on it, and monetarily if makes sense to go out west we will.
Shaan: We actually had an offer to play a gig today down in Chattanooga, that we got today from the guy that is trying to get us down south more. We are definitely trying to pursue that different direction, as many people say that the Midwest is EDM, down south its still a lot of good rock and roll type shit.
Max: Down in Georgia, that whole region, it’s where our bread and butter is.
Shaan: That is where we are trying to get ourselves down this fall and winter, get ourselves a little more established down there.
CL: What do you feel is the importance of music festivals?
Max: That’s an easy question, to play our music for a crowd that might not normally see us. You get a festival like this where people are coming from Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, they are coming to a gathering place. What also helps is with a lot of these music festivals is there are a lot of people that are somewhat like-minded, listen to the same sort of things and have the same mindset.
CL: You come to a music festival, and the idea is the music puts out a vibrational energy that connects and puts everybody in attendance on the same plane in a sense, do you intentionally go out there achieve a goal like this?
Max: This is my spirituality, playing music, and I don’t have anything else that compares to it.
Dace: I definitely think we drive the vibe, and even if we are aren’t talking, the vibe we are putting out is underscoring the conversation. I don’t really think of it as cosmic, but I do think there is a unifying aspect to it all.
CL: Do you see yourselves “vibing” off the crowd as you play?
Max: Fuck yeah
Shaan: Absolutely, I feel that my job as a drummer is that if I’m not making that person shake their ass, then I’m not doing my job. If I cant make anybody shake their ass then I need to think about what I’m doin’.
CL: Do you find yourself wanting to play festivals more than bars?
Max: Oh yeah if I could stop playing bars and just play all festivals, or festivals and theaters, but its hard to do.
Shaan: Sometimes its hard to get into a festival, a lot of times it’s about who you know, not which kind of a band you are in or how talented you are. It’s politics.
Dace: It’s funny about the music industry, because it’s art, and art is so subjective, with music who is going to say this band is better then that band? Musicians want to hire their friends, promoters what to hire their friends, they want their friends to do well in the music industry.
Max: Don’t think it’s NOT a competition because it is. You are competing for the audience, for the crowd, for fans.
CL: There appears to always be a separation from stage and crowd and not many people actually get to hang out with the bands they see and make assumptions or judgments, what are your opinions about drug use, drug use in the scene and even the use of drugs like marijuana, mushrooms or LSD for medial or therapeutic purposes?
Max: F-I-F, I plead the F-I-F
Shaan: I have to concur with my colleagues and plead the fifth. However I will say this, a person can do whatever they want as long as it doesn’t mess with me or hurts anybody around me. If people are responsible enough to handle their shit, let them do whatever the hell they want to. I’m not saying I condone it, or that I do it, but if everybody can be happy and live together and nobody is getting hurt then whatever. But I will definitely say I plead the fifth.
Max: I have seen a lot of benefits that marijuana has done to the lives of people, medically, spiritually, mentally and I think as we grow older and as time goes on, the old ways of thinking are going to die out and the new ways are going to come in. I will say be safe and be smart, there are safe drugs and there are dumb drugs, but moderation is key.
CL: What advice would you give to the next up-and-coming regional band that is trying to make music their life?
Dace: Quit now and come to our gigs.
Max: Ya get a real job, something that pays. No but really though, find a team, this shit takes a team of people to make it happen. Indymojo has a team, a team of people all working for the same thing and that’s how a band should be. It shouldn’t just be the band working for the dream, it should be a well thought out plan, practice and make yours hit as good as possible. Practice your instrument, practice your instrument practice your fucking instrument. Go meet as many people as you can and spread the gospel, because it is a religion. Thank you.