The weekend was crazy busy with local shows, and I haven't been out to as many local gigs as I'd like in the past year, so I decided to get out and cover something awesome. Our old friends in Mojave Nomads were headlining a Kilby Court show, so I chatted with the rest of the lineup that we hadn't interviewed yet: cowboy space rockers Westward; orchestral hip-hop group Rumble Gums; and Logan psych band Panthermilk, all with photos for you to check out.
(Karl Grimm, Andrew Marshall & Matt Morrison)
Gavin: Hey guys! First off, tell us a little about yourselves.
I'm Karl Grimm, I play bass in the band. I enjoy almost every genre of music, and only started playing bass last year. I graduated from the U with a double major in chemistry and biology and really enjoy doing research. But playing music live is what I really live for.
I'm Andrew Marshall. I bring forth the guitar and the lead vocals. And I like to party.
I'm Matt Morrison and I play drums in the band. I also play bass and have played and currently play in other bands around town including Great Interstate. I studied Environmental Studies and Math at the University of Utah and graduated last year. I am also a live sound engineer. Oh, and I too like to party.
What first got each of you interested in music and what bands did you enjoy growing up?
Growing up I mostly stole music from my older sister's music collection; she was mostly into punk music. In high school, I began to listen to a lot of classic hard rock that my friends and dad introduced me to including AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and especially Jimi Hendrix. I became obsessed with Hendrix quickly, and still am to this day
I was immersed in music at a very young age. My whole family is musical, and so I was surrounded by music since birth. Being the youngest child, I was influenced a lot by my family's choice of music. Dave Matthews, Cake, Jack White, Muse and Radiohead to name a few from the siblings. Keith Green, Jim Croce, The Mamas & the Papas and Marty Robbins from the parents, and The Andrew Sisters and the Ink Spots from the grandparents.
My dad is a drummer and got me into music. I was raised on classic rock, and my first favorite band was The Rolling Stones. I still love a lot of classic rock music like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, and The James Gang.
What got each of you involved with the local music scene early on?
Just the want to play on stage. I started to teach myself guitar at 17 and just got a couple friends together, one of which was Matt, and just started to play the shows we could get. Which led to meeting other bands and musicians, and getting other shows.
From an early age I had the desire to perform. I started writing my own music at 12. At 16, I started performing the music that I wrote at local coffee shops and open mic nights. It seems like musicians are just magnetized to each other. Just like Karl, I started meeting people and playing whatever shows we could get.
Ever since I started playing the drums, my favorite part was always been playing to music, initially just to CD's in my basement and eventually with other musicians as I met a member of the music community.
When did the three of you first meet each other and become friends?
I met Matt when I was 17 in high school. He was a friend of a friend at the time and we wanted a drummer/bassist. We began playing together and slowly became friends. I met Andrew through Matt by actually going to Westward shows before I joined the band.
I met Matt through the On Track Music School. I was teaching guitar and he was teaching drums. We performed quite a bit through the school and it blossomed into a friendship and eventually co-band membership. Like Karl said, we met through Matt. It was always great to have Karl come to the shows because he always really enjoyed the music and was a cool music person to be around.
How did you decide to come together and form Westward?
I wasn’t here from the get-go but, their prior bassist was quitting and I was a fan of their music and was looking for a music project to play in at the time, so Matt told me they were looking, and I asked if I could join.
When the band first started, it looked a lot different than it does now. Had to go through a few ridiculous names. It started with music that I had written and also some co-written music. The music was always morphing and maturing. Through the collaboration of musicians, it has always been something I thought was special. I am very excited about what this band has become.
I wasn't in the group in its very first form, but I feel like I joined the band prior to, and was involved in, the creation of our Westward, cowboy space rock sound. I joined the band after performing with Andrew as instructors at the On Track Music School and Groove Dr's Drum Instruction and seeing what a great musician and performer he was.
What was the biggest influence behind writing a harder kind of rock sound that you create?
Although I haven’t written any of the earlier stuff, I think one of the big drives is to sound different than most other bands that are out there. We all come from very different musical backgrounds and I think we all just try to sound as big as possible while still retaining a good musical quality. When people come up after shows and just say “Holy shit! That was awesome!” That’s been an influence on me to try to sound bigger and better next time.
What Karl said. And I really enjoying the fact that we can all take advantage of the different backgrounds we have and through a kind of group-think, we pump out a sound that is different.
As they have both mentioned, I think our diverse musical backgrounds gives us so much to draw from as we write our own music. Playing in a trio presents a cool opportunity because there is so much space to fill in the music with only three musicians. I enjoy being able to play a lot to fill that space but doing it in a way that compliments Andrew's and Karl's parts.
When you first started playing around town, what was it like for you building an audience?
Since I’ve joined it’s always a constant grind the only way to get new fans and audiences is by playing more shows in new and familiar places. The more you play the better you become as a band and the bigger audiences and fans you can get.
That's something you are always working on as a band. We do what we can on social media and play shows that we think will be fun for us and for people who come to see us. We've played to some really fun crowds and also to a handful of people at Kilby Court. We work hard at growing our band, our music, and our audience, but we also realize that a lot of it just takes time.
Last year you released your debut full-length album, The Deadly Rapture Of Space. What was it like for you guys to record that album?
At the time I was sharing space with Andrew Golding of Sound Cave Studios, and was there for some of the recording processes. Even though I wasn’t in the band at the time, or even before the prior bassist decided to leave, I was actually at some of the recordings of the album, which is kind of cool.
Andrew Goldring is really great to work with. We had been playing for close to two years. So by the time we got in the studio, we were very ready and that gave us plenty of time to get the music really tight. So with that, Andrew Goldring was able to be a really good producing ear, and we had time to be creative in the studio.
Having been a band for two years before we recorded, the album definitely felt like a long time coming, but I think that benefitted our music and resulted in a more defined and polished sound. Working with Andrew Goldring is always great.
What did you think of the reaction it got after it finally came out?
I was very pleased with the reaction. Old fans were happy to finally have something they could take home and listen to. And new fans did not have to know what it was like to have to go without Westward in their homes.
Do you have any plans in the works for a follow-up, or just playing gigs for now?
We are in the process of writing new music now. We plan to release a single at the end of the summer and to finished recording the album this fall. And playing plenty of shows!
Do you have any plans for a tour outside of Utah yet?
We have already toured through Utah, Nevada, Idaho and California in support of the debut album, including a recent show at the House Of Blues in Las Vegas. And we are in the beginning phase of planning our October tour, which will include the entire west coast and southwest regions.
What can we expect from Westward in 2016?
Touring, new music and as always, high quality, "Cowboy Space Rock" filled shows! We are excited to write and release more new music, get back out on the road for more touring, and continue to play fun local shows, including a performance at this year's Utah Arts Festival.
(Jackson Banks, Chase Cee, Davey Nelson, John De La Torre, Spenny Relyea & James Buonforte)
Hey gang, first thing, tell us a little about yourselves.
We've been together since last June. Chase and I wrote the music and picked up these goombas to bring the record to a live performance.
I was grandfathered into the band because I was a guest on some tracks. Now I pull the strings from the shadows.
What first got each of you interested in music and what bands did you enjoy growing up?
The best part about this band is that everyone has a diverse musical influence. For Chase and Davey, it's Gorillaz and hip-hop. For me, I grew up listening to Slayer and Megadeth. Jimmy is the punk. He's always been into The Specials and The Business. John's into a lot of funk like Earth, Wind and Fire and Jackson 5. Jack is the comedian of the band, literally, and he's always been into Captain Beefheart and Ween.
There are treasures to be mined in every genre. That's why the eclectic feel of the band is so amazing. I've always described it to people as "Rock-Funk-Hip-Hop Fusion." Each member is very well versed in their field. (I'm allowed to praise the music openly because I don't play an instrument. I'm all about that hip-hop in the nude, son.)
That's how Spenny and Davey met. Spenny played in The North Valley and Davey played in Gypsy Cab and The 2:13's. Already having the right connections, they were able to lock in shows from the beginning of Rumble Gums and things picked up from there.
When did the collective of you meet each other and find out about your music?
Chase and I have been making music together for about eight years. Spenny and I have been playing shows and jamming together for about four years. Johnny was the original bass player for The 2:13's. We picked up the rest of the boys along the way.
I actually found Jack in a gutter in Cedar City. We started a radio show for SUU that we hosted together called "Chillin' With Chase."
When I first met Chase I was intimidated by his skill, and I was at first threatened by this musical alpha. But this threat turned to love. I've watched him grow as a digital composer. He is a masterful entertainer in the studio.
What made you decide to come together and form Rumble Gums?
We were sitting on 20 recorded tracks for about two years. Jimmy started bugging the shit out of me, wanting to play drums for one of my projects. After being reluctant about playing music again, I finally gave in. Me, Jimmy, Spenny and Johnny got together to start playing the songs as they are on the album, bringing Chase and Jack in as things got rolling.
Chase and I brought in our bromance rap duo dynamic that had been forming over the years. Now the world finally gets to see it.
What kind of challenge is it for you writing and performing as an ensemble?
We wrote all of the songs in my studio over the course of two years. Writing is always a blast because it's a flexible and collaborative process where anybody can jump in anywhere. That's why every song is different. The trickiest part has been the transition between studio recordings and all of the layers and benefits it brings and then replicating that live. The live show has taken on a new life and more of a rock'n'roll twist than the recordings.
The live show literally has a rotating cast. During the first half of the show most people in the crowd don't even know I'm in the band, then they're afraid I might hurt the band until I start singing with them. It's quite a lot of fun. I make up for my lack of trained musical skill with good taste and theatrics. The studio stuff is much more electric. Because the music was created digitally and performed after the fact makes the live and studio performances very unique experiences. I implore people everywhere to experience both.
You tend to mix four different styles into one orchestral rock/hip hop sound. How did the genesis of that come about?
When you take a bunch of rockers to perform a hip hop style album, you get this crazy fusion as all our diverse tastes get mashed together.
One of my favorite parts about that band is that it's musically competent but there's a brand of silliness and humor engrained in it. So it's a great show, but never takes itself too seriously, so the showmanship can take a humorous turn and the audience will go along with it.
How was it for you getting out and performing around town?
It's been really great. It's picked up more steam than I thought it would. Every show that we've played has had a great crowd and it's better than the last.
I love playing music with my friends!
So far you only have a single out called “Smooth Talkin'.” What made you decide to go with a single first rather than an EP or album?
It feels like so many local bands are releasing EP's all of the time, it makes it hard to get through all of it.
We wanted to give people a taste of the studio before we released our first full-length album, Pool Party Palace
dropping early May.
How are things looking down the road so far for new music?
We've already started album two. This time, Spenny has been collaborating with Chase and myself on the writing process. Jack is going to play a strong role in album two as well.
Any plans to tour around when summer comes around?
We got our first tour booked! We have ten west coast dates booked at the end of May. You can keep up with us on our website.
We plan on hitting the road as much as we can after that.
What can we expect from all of you and Rumble Gums the rest of the year?
Album two by next year.
I've been playing a lot more solo music and I should have my first record done by the end of August.
I've got my first solo record finished, Taste Test Pity City
, and will be releasing it by the end of the summer. I've started a second one that is just straight rock'n'roll, both new material and old. I'm releasing it by the end of this year.
I'm building a compilation of all of my instrumental beats, a total of about 40 tracks.
We are all the friends you need.
I'll be doing Gums and my solo rap stuff with Chase. I'll also be doing a lot of standup and filmmaking (which should include some really far out music videos for Rumble Gums). I see a bright future for Rumble Gums and humankind. If you want to live forever, jam Rumble Gums man!
(Dan Fields, Josh Mikesell, Nick Porath, Nicholas Lilly & Benton Wood)
Panthermilk on Facebook
Hey, first thing, tell us a little about yourselves.
We're a group based in Logan and have been playing as a full band for about a year and a half now. Before that, it was more a solo endeavor by myself.
What first got you interested in music and what bands did you enjoy growing up?
Exposure to good music is vital. We all have felt a draw to it naturally, coupled with being blessed with opportunity and music programs locally. We lean towards rock influences: a lot of Zeppelin, Stones, etc. We're all really into psychedelic music these days, and funk is having a huge effect on our sound.
How was it for each of you branching out as musicians and getting involved with the local music scene?
Josh and Jake attended a chatter school with a super "with it" music program and could take courses like "music performance" and rock band where performance was necessary. That it made it easy for them to show up ready to play their own gigs. Nick and myself
tended to hang around musicians which naturally ended up as gigging bands. We all sort of went through our own bands and such and ended up meeting each other at the right time.
How did you decide to come together and form Panthermilk?
I began writing and recording towards the end of the band Raccoon Dog, that I played bass in while Jake played drums. The rest of the members slowly had become acquainted over time through Logan's music scene and fell naturally into place.
What made you go for more of a funk/psych sound for your music?
Gotta have a groove. That's just the result of our influences. Psychedelic music has many cerebral qualities and we try to hit that ourselves. Layered on top of funky beats.
What was it like for you first starting out, both writing music and performing?
A roller coaster of frustration and gratification. But we love doing it, most importantly.
Being a Logan-based band, what's it like for you traveling down to Ogden, SLC and Provo where most of the music scene is situated?
We definitely feel a little outcasted. People seem to have a bad taste in their mouth for Logan, but we're usually able to show them otherwise with our work. It's just a matter of persistence in the promotion and fine-tuning your product. When it comes down to it you need to let the music do its job.
Back in 2014, you put out your first EP, Orion. What was it like recording that album and getting it out?
The first EPs were bedroom recordings. Mostly real instruments but plenty of MIDI. It was also a lot of trial and error in finding the first sound. Establishing the multi-rhythms and verbed vocals in the first EP sort of defined what was going to happen live as well as with Totem
Last year you put out your first full-length, Totem. What changed between recordings and how did this session go?
I produced and recorded this album myself with the help of peers and other performers. Jake appeared on a few tracks for drums, so more real instruments. It became more of recording "what's written" type of record than a "write in the studio" record. Mostly it went very smooth. It was only remixed three times, haha.
How was it for you getting the album out and getting the word around about the band
Social media makes it easy. Playing shows also makes it easy. We're and engaged band so getting rid of albums came naturally. We take advantage of social media, probably perhaps not as much as we should. But we're getting there. It's tough to remember that there's more to it than the music.
Are you looking to record anything new or just writing and performing for now?
We're about to break ground on an 11-track album. What it do.
Any plans for touring outside of Utah yet? And what can we expect from Panthermilk in 2016?
Booking a fall '16 tour. Or two small tours. We'll do a leg in the PNW and one in Colorado. New shows, new waves of merchandise and hopefully a single. Hit us up on social media to stay tuned.