my week of unpredictable stuff, I threw darts at the calendar and
found my way back to Kilby Court to check out the show Tuesday
night. First up was the basement rock, solo driven sounds of
Seamus. Followed by an almost completely dark show by heaving
hitting Lungus, topping it all off with the modern Rockabilly hits
from The Fey.
--- There was a fourth act from Florida, but he didn't care to play until the audience was almost completely gone and gave attitude to almost everyone at the venue, so we'll skip him. I got a chance to sit down with all three of the local acts for interviews found below, as well as pictures from the show that can be found here.
Seamus (Art, Keith, Eric, Clark, Steve)
Gavin: So what did you think of the turnout tonight?
Steve: Minimalist audience.
Eric: Yeah, it was fun.
Art: Kilby Court is always a fun place to play, we love it. Go Kilby!
Gavin: Awesome. Tell us about how you guys came together.
Eric: Steve and I have been playing together since college, we were actually in a band before that and have been writing stuff forever. Then we decided to form another band. We found Art online, and we had another drummer and bassist but they quit, so we picked up these two we have now. Keith was in another band Art was in, and Clark we just, picked up.
Gavin: Just found him on the side of the road.
Steve: Not quite. It was one of those relationships that just kind of happened, don't know how it started.
Gavin: Fair enough. What artists influenced you all?
Eric: Zepplin, Beatles, Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam. Lately I've been influenced by Pinback for some reason.
Art: For me Incubus has been a huge influence. I just love their guitar work and how intricate it is. I think I just to pull on Jimi Hendrix's spirit, but that doesn't come through as much as I'd like.
Steve: For me vocally, I grew up on U2 and the big bands. So organically I like to think of myself as a cross between Bono and Harry Connick Jr. I don't know if that comes out, but those are my touchstones when it comes to vocal performance. The laid back cool and the intimate yowl of Bono.
Gavin: Nice. What's your opinion of the local scene in Utah, both good and bad?
Eric: I wish it could be better. My biggest beef is not a lot of people get out in Utah, so it's a lot smaller than it could be. I also think the bars membership thing kind of discourages people to just get out and hang and watch bands. I think if most of the Utah bands were in other states, they'd do quite a bit better.
Steve: Yeah, I think the talent is definitely there. I've heard bands who are just phenomenal but have zero following. But I think also maybe people don't see that there is more of a music scene. We're not that demographic, we're in our late 20's. But I think that's where music finds a lot of it's roots and finds its way of thriving. Provo is starting to pop with The Velour and Muse Music.
Art: I just think for local bands it's always going to be tough and that's part of the fun of it. But what people don't realize is when music comes out and they see a band, that band has been working for many, many years. If they caught the local scene a little earlier, they could have enjoyed it much earlier.
Eric: Except Hanson.
Steve: Except Hanson, they were big as soon as they started playing.
Art: This is true.
Gavin: With that said, what's your opinion of the current trends in music right now?
Steve: Maybe it's just me, I loved the Indie music, I love that musical exploration. Like Arcade Fire. It's starting to feel like though like the whole “we're being different to be different” thing is almost played out now, and Emo isn't so original anymore. I think it's becoming less of a personal statement. So I'm glad to see there's an evolution, I think we're going to see an resurgence or start of something new, morph into something else.
Eric: Well the hipster movement is dying for sure. But, I like the direction some newer bands are going. A lot of cool stuff being developed. As for hip-hop, I appreciate it as an art form, but there's a lot of good stuff out there. One of the biggest challenges as far as the rock scene goes is trying to become marketable again. A lot are moving towards hip-hop, a lot of people don't like rock as much as they used to. I think people are becoming more genre specific, people are saying they like a specific music and don't cross genres. But there's a lot of new stuff coming out and I think that's all gonna change.
Art: I think it's very special what's happening for guitars in music. We're seeing the return of the guitar solo in a big way, which is great. And we have people like Derek Trucks who are grabbing from the past and making it relevant again for today. Just making really great music great again.
Steve: And I think we're about ready for the 90's resurgence. There's a lot of good stuff back then. Like Blind Melon, that's such a pillar of 90's rock. And Smashing Pumpkins. I think we've sampled the 80's enough in our music currently. We've plunged to the depth of the 80's, let's move onto the 90's. I'm ready for that.
Gavin: So then what's your opinion on the state of the music industry?
Eric: They're in trouble.
Steve: Definitely. With the big guys, they're in trouble. They're a little lazy, didn't quite see what was gonna hit them. The Indie labels on the other hand they're kind of a step ahead. They're going to succeed where the big guys are going to have to do something completely different to survive.
Eric: Yeah. Recording music is such a great experience now. You get to do it anyplace you want to be now, we've done a lot of recording work in our basement and we'll do some more in the studio or the basement later this year. But there's also so many option for distribution now too. You can make a CD and give it to a distributor yourself, or you can also seek out a label and do it that way. We had great success marketing ourselves through iTunes and selling it ourselves.
Steve: There's a great rant about it on DemonBaby.com where he goes on and on about these big companies that cannot adapt to the internet and they're going to go under because that's the way of the future. Although for me, I think there's still a place for a hard copy, like a record. Hence the cult of LP collecting. There's something about having that graphic art, reading the words, the smell of the new CD that's part of the music experience. And I think that would be lost if I just had them on some gray internet. I need images to attach it too and I think that's part of the music experience sometimes.
Gavin: So you guys don't have a problem with file sharing at all?
Eric: As a previous file sharer, a lot of it I didn't have a problem with because I thought of it more as exploratory. Find a new band, hear them, go see them live. Black Rebel Motorcycle is a perfect example of that. I stole, I mean file shared some of their music and that got me interested in buying their album and seeing them live. So there's the marketing aspect of it. And then from the other side you can see where artists are like “I deserve to be paid for something.” I can understand that argument as well. I think the problem is where big companies take a big cut of it as well and raise prices and so everyone feels jipped and no one feels happy.
Art: File sharing is such a bear, it's a great media for distribution. Allowing your bootleg recordings to get out there and for people to enjoy them, and I think file sharing is great for that. But on the other hand, we should maximize our use of it but still retain our copyright. I think file sharing can be the way of the future and that artists can get paid for their work.
Gavin: Cool. You currently have a CD out. What's been the reception to that? And are you working on any new material for another album or just playing around for now?
Eric: Well, since we changed drummer and bassist, the album changed. That's kind of the old Seamus, not really us anymore. But it's still really good. From what I read on iTunes, the reviews are really good.
Steve: I think our biggest issue as a band both for our shows and for our album is distribution. Everyone who's come to see us and heard the album has had good things to say, but I think we're just poor marketers. But pretty good performers. We're excited, we're taking some of the songs from the CD we put out and retooling them. And we're taking new material and hoping to go back into the studio sometime this year and record.
Gavin: Any local artists you recommend?
Steve: Opal Hill Drive. Hands down my favorite band in Utah. These guys are down to the bone blue collar rock and roll. If Bob Seger had a golden child, it would be Opal Hill Drive. They just have this great sound, the songmanship is fantastic, the lyrics are incredible. They're not a band that's like a metronome just cranking out songs. There's peaks and valleys in their songs and it's just nice pretty rock and roll. Just great stuff.
Eric: Token Betty. They freakin' rock. They have a girl singer, she's awesome.
Art: There's a new pianist, Mike Sheffiled. He's just fantastic. Played a gig with him a couple weeks ago and just loved the heart and soul he brought to his piano playing. I hadn't heard anyone local like that before.
Lungus (Chris, Matt, Juan, Kyle)
Gavin: What did you think of the turnout tonight?
Matt: You know, I don't mind playing little shows. I'll play little shows anywhere, anytime.
Chris: Yeah,t hat about sums it up.
Gavin: Tell us how you guys came together.
Chris: Kyle our guitarist came to me and was begging for a band, huh Kyle? (Kyle walks away while the rest laugh.) Anyway, me and Kyle got together and started jamming around.
Kyle: We met on MySpace.
Chris: Yeah, and we were just kind of jamming around. And then we got together with Juan and made some songs, then we pulled Matt into sing and that's about it.
Matt: I was gonna try and sing. It was about four months and I had a hard time, but then it just all came out and worked.
Gavin: Cool. What bands influenced you guys?
Matt: I'm a huge Tool junkie, Deftones, as far as singing goes for me.
Chris: Portishead. All kinds of stuff. Everything is good.
Gavin: What do you guys think of the local scene here in Utah, both good and bad?
Matt: After five shows I've noticed there's a lot of repeats. And then there's some good stuff. But I'd have to say mostly disappointing. But Kilby's really kicked it up a step, they've got a new system. We didn't like playing Kilby before, it used to be cold and hard to play. But now it's fun to play.
Gavin: What do you think of the current trends out in music now?
Matt: I'm so sick of Emo.
Chris: No trends!
Matt: So sick of it. I like experimental stuff, more genre mixing. Making things intertwined, I like that.
Chris: Emo needs to die. It's a personal thing. I'm not doing this for the rest of my band, but let it die. Polka is at rest, disco is gone too. Just let Emo die.
Matt: Maybe mix disco with polka?
Chris: Yeah, dude.
Matt: Polka, disco and jazz.
Gavin: Then you'd get a Weird Al version of “Stayin' Alive.” With that said, what do you think of the current state of the music industry?
Chris: As far as I've heard it seems the labels are falling out, and that sounds good. More independent bands.
Matt: But at the same time it seems it's getting harder to get recognized.
Chris: For sure. What do you think Juan?
Juan: I don't know. I think there's obviously people trying to stand out like Radiohead selling their album online.
Chris: Yeah, bands are fighting against it, so that's good.
Kyle: It's harder to get recognized, that's for sure. There's just so many bands and all trying to find place. So as a band it's just difficult in general to get recognized.
Chris: Kill the radio. No more radio.
Matt: We need more radio stations in Utah that are good. More hip-hop stations.
Gavin: What's your opinion on file sharing? I know you're unsigned and use MySpace to get your music out.
Matt: I'm broke and I don't care how you would get my music. Go get it and love it and come to our shows. Until I make some money, keep stealing that music.
Gavin: What's your plans for a album?
Chris: Our album is coming really soon actually. We recorded it ourselves, we have all the instrumental done, we just need to put Matt's vocals on it. Then we can start selling it at shows and on MySpace.
Matt: Should be out by March 15th. If not, by the end of March.
Gavin: Any local acts you guys recommend?
Matt: The New Nervous.
Chris: Return To Sender. They're pretty cool.
Matt: We're fresh out on the scene, we've been dormant for a few years.
Chris: But there are some new kids out there just shredding. That one band, they opened for us. Goulash! When those kids grow up, they will just rip it up.
The Fey (David, Cid, Merrit, Sam, BJ, Anna)
Gavin: What did you think of the turnout tonight?
David: I thought the turnout was pretty good considering this was only our second show and we had more people watch us than any other band tonight. Same thing happened last week, so no surprise there.
Gavin: Cool. Tell us about yourselves and how you came together as a band.
BJ: I met David through his brother Michael. I've been playing music with Michael longer than I can remember now. And he just blossomed into a good guitar player and lead man, and when he moved back into town it just seemed right. I've also played with Merrit for a long time too, Jake's a good friend who started playing with us and Sam just fell into place down the road. That's how that happened.
David: Pretty much what he said. I've had a lot of really good role models to help guide me into my young adulthood as being a musician goes. I feel privileged to have jammed out with such experienced musicians. Been jamming with BJ, met him through my brother. Merrit he used to jam out with Kurt Cobain and Bradley Nile, he's an old badass from Seattle, grew up drinking beer with those guys. Jay is just my best friend and roommate, me and him have a real tight bond. That Pieces/Scorpio kind of thing, just can't break them apart. And I actually met Sam randomly but he knew my brother from a long time ago. A lot of my musicianship came from my older brother because he was there to really turn me onto a lot of good music growing up, showing me how to have a good time and how to not let things get to you and to just focus on the music.
Gavin: Awesome. So what's your opinion of the local scene both good and bad?
BJ: Well you don't get paid here, that's for sure. The kids are all cool though, the crowds are good. There's a lot of good bands here. I don't know if I'd really want to be anywhere else to hear music. You got the Purbats, Vile Blue Shades, Pink Lightning. Just a lot of good stuff. Red Top Wolverine.
David: I'd like to add to that the Brobecks, and also my friend Tyler Kurt, and Tom Bennett. He's always happening somewhere. I think the local scene here is good. I came all the way from Florida back here, I stayed here for two years and then I went back home to recharge my batteries and see my family for a year. I came back out here because I really believe in the local underground scene and I feel like it's a good place to be if you're a sincere folk rock musician who is just wanting to make a cool sound.
BJ: It's a good hub to tour the west, most definitely. You got I-84 and just cruse up through Idaho during school and hit the coast. Seattle all the way through Mexico.
David: Will Sartain is always good, he's always doing some kind of band. All kinds of different stuff.
Gavin: So what's your opinion of the current trends in music?
BJ: Well none of the good hip-hop is on the radio, that's for damn sure. I mean, I don't know how many times I can hear “Booty Went Thump” or whatever, which is stolen from “Snakes On A Plane” by the way. The hip-hop scene around here is great, I grew up in Provo with the Numbs and the Agent's Crew. I also grew up really heavy into Ska like Stretch Armstrong, My Man Friday, 2 ½ White Guys who are still playing.
Gavin: Much Reggae?
BJ: A lot of reggae. 2 ½ White Guys is actually rock steady Reggae, I wouldn't even call them Ska. There's good Reggae in town too. Soul Redemption, Deverse, just good stuff. So I think we have a well rounded music scene here, definitely.
David: For me it's more about making a really unique, amazing, spectacular, original sound. I want to be powerful but calm at the same time. I wanna be sincere and spiritual in my music to where people are really feeling something and they come to see a show and it's not just mindless chatter or noise.
Gavin: As Tom York referred to it as, “Refrigerator Noise.”
David: Yes indeed. Tom York, another great musician. I really feel like our style would be more rock and roll, I was heavily influenced by Ricky Nelson and The Strokes growing up. Patsy Klein and Hank Williams Sr. Sometimes my southern roots show through a little bit. But I also got that surfer in me because I'm from Florida so it kind of binds together to make a really unique flavor.
Gavin: How do you feel about the industry and how it's trying to stay afloat?
BJ: I think it's horrible. I think the crap in the Top 40 is just that, it's crap. There's nothing good out there, there's nothing new or original. It's all the same bubblegum bullshit.
David: I'm quite disgusted with the total lack of feeling and meaning. There's not many people who are doing it because they enjoy it, they're doing it because they wanna make a paycheck. And when you do it for the wrong reasons it becomes something almost evil. In a sense that it brainwashes people and makes them feel bad about themselves because they don't really know what's going on. I'd rather help people feel more at one with themselves and their surroundings and just be happy.
BJ: Except for the “Juno” soundtrack, it's kind of a godsend to America. It kind of opened people's eyes to different things out there. Just kind of ripped it up, I love that soundtrack, I own it now. A lot of good stuff. Cat Power, Belle & Sebastian, Moldy Peaches. Just a lot of random stuff that a lot of people don't get a chance to hear.
Gavin: What's your opinion on file sharing?
BJ: Rip it up! I don't care. If you wanna listen to it then listen to it. You can have it.
David: Same thing here, I write my music because I want people to hear it and enjoy it. Bottom line. If you want to rip it, rip it. If you want to pay for it, pay for it. It's all for you, I love you all and I want you all to enjoy yourselves.
Gavin: Sweet. I know you guys are unsigned and most of your stuff is on MySpace. Are you building an album or looking for a label?
BJ: We're definitely doing an album. We have a six track EP, which should be done by the middle of next month and release it by April. We'll be on tour by May. We're going to be looking at distributing deals as opposed to signing with a record label first just to get some stuff out there and get it moving along. Then we'll see what happens with a label, we've had a few offers from some local things but they didn't really have much to offer.
Gavin: A lot of the scene tends to by DIY now.
David: I'm all for distributors, but I'd like to stay unsigned and that way we don't become restricted and sold out and watered down. I think it would loose all it's significance if that was done. I don't just play music because I wanna make music, I play music because I wanna change society.