Tag Archives: Band Features

Interview / Kid Felix

Six-piece South Jersey rock band Kid Felix have been taking the Philladelphia music scene by storm for the past few years and rightly so. Their sound overflows with intense passion, perfectly layered instruments and soaring vocals. The band’s two newly released tracks Jericho and I Am The River show the band’s amazing writing abilities and tight musicianship. Kid Felix can pride themselves with accomplishments such as being the Grand Prize regional finalists of the 2012 Hard Rock Rising Global Battle of the Bands, as well as playing Bamboozle, Warped tour and opening for fantastic bands like Alice in Chains and Soundgarden.

Ken (keyboards) talks to MGMB about the start of Kid Felix, title of the band, latest releases, working as a group and more.

Could you give me some details about how and when Kid Felix formed?

It was kind of accidental that we all got together. We went to the same high school but had different projects going on. Brett (guitar), Julian (bass), and Johnny (lead guitar) were playing together and it worked out that Jake (lead vocals), John (drums), and I (keyboards) were looking for another band. We got together and it turned out that we were all able to write really well together, and we’ve been going at it ever since. Two years later, here we are.

Is there any special story behind the title of the band?

Jake saw the word Felix in a movie and we found out it meant luck in Latin. We kind of just ended up on Kid Felix. For us, it stands for getting lucky enough to make our music for a living.

If you had to describe your music in three or four words, what would you call it?

Our friend Matt described it best: “Melodic over structured chaos.”

You’ve recently released a couple of tracks ‘Jericho’ and ‘I Am The River’. What can you tell us about them?

They’re definitely the best representation of the band’s sound as a whole. It took a while but we finally found the best way to construct a song together, and these really show what the band is all about.

What made you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?

I think it definitely varies for each member of the band. For me, it was seeing my favorite band, Manchester Orchestra, play live. Knowing that they got to play the songs they wrote to a huge venue of people who knew all the words made me want to do the same more than anything.

Who writes the songs and how do you normally work at them together with the band?

We actually all write together. Someone in the band will bring a riff or chord progression to a writing session and then everyone will start to add in their own parts. It’s nice writing this way because everyone feels more a part of each song.

What is the music scene like in New Jersey at the moment and how do you think you fit in?

The music scene we’re in is awesome right now. There are so many great bands playing in our area and everyone is out supporting and promoting each other. Our music may not be the same as many of these bands, but I think we fit in great.

Is there any show you have played, which you would class as your favourite one so far?

I’d have to say opening for Alice in Chains and Soundgarden at Susquehana Bank Center for 93.3’s WMMR-BQ. It was such a surreal experience playing to so many people with such well-known bands.

What can people expect to see at your live performance?

A ton of energy. We try to leave everything we have on the stage.

Do you have any releases coming up, that you’d like to let us know about?

We just released our two singles and are working on writing now for a full-length. We don’t have any date set for a release yet, but I’m sure we’ll start working some of the newer stuff into our live sets very soon.

Links – Website, Facebook, Twitter

Video of the Day / Black Belt KARATE – Building Walls

Black Belt KarateSometimes you come across a sound and it instantly clicks. Love at first listen. That’s it. Boom!

And if you’re a true admirer of pure, sexy, energy loaded, blood pumping, (I could go on and on…) rock and roll, and I mean ROCK AND ROLL that sets you on fire within a few seconds, then my friends, you have found what you’re looking for right here.

Meet Black Belt KARATE, a 4-piece super handsome group from LA, who were clearly born to make music that will rock your world in the most euphoric way.

I’m almost certain you’ll end up thinking ‘Where the fuck has this been all my life?’ and wishing there was MORE, MORE, MORE of this strikingly delicious noise out there.

This is the type of music that sets you wild and free, awakes all your senses and makes you feel so damn alive.

Now go and break your repeat button. You’ve been warned.

Also check out this fab interview with the guys from BBK and Andy Barnes from Mudkiss – http://www.mudkiss.com/bbkinterview.htm.

Links – iTunes, Soundcloud, Website, Facebook, Twitter

Interview / Vessel

Louie Bo Charles IV (bass) and Elmo Strauss (guitars & vocals) grew up together listening to Led Zeppelin, started jamming and paving their way to becoming Auckland’s alt/blues rock treasure called Vessel. Now a three piece band, Vessel keep blowing minds across the New Zealand’s music scene with their visceral rock’n’roll and slowly reaching to a wider audience outside of their home land. They come with a fresh, unpretentious, killer-riff sound that ought to impress you and creep under your skin within seconds.

The following questions, willingly answered by Louie Bo Charles IV, will give you some interesting info on the band and their music.

Could you tell us a bit about your musical background and how did Vessel form?

Elmo Strauss and I have grown up together digging the same sounds and sharing new musical experiences – this has been going on for eighteen years, although, we only started playing music together about five of those years. We moved to Waiheke Island, which is in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf (about 40 min ferry trip from the city) and started to jam around. I was a green but enthusiastic bass player and Elmo had been playing guitar for a while but didn’t really think of himself as a vocalist. After chatting to a local, we ended in a wood-shed with a drummer called Steve Hastings and from there started the B-Squared Blues Band. Consequently, we played and formed a few cover bands (Whiskey Mac, Mister Lastboat) and played with some of Waiheke Islands finest before forming Feral Vessel, where we started to pen our own material. Just over twelve months ago, we moved to town to further our ambitions and drummer-less entered the National Battle of the Bands. We shortened our name to Vessel and put the call out for a stickman – enter Mr Fons Peeters. Within two weeks we learnt enough material to get us through the heats but we started to gel fairly quickly and eventually made the final! It was a baptism of fire that brought us together and after that were playing regular gigs, where we started to forge our sound into what you can hear on the Friday Drive EP.

Which three special characteristics would describe Vessel the best; ones that make you stand out on the music scene?

To limit us to just three special characteristics is fairly mean because we sweat special characteristics, but if we narrow it down into a neat list:

  1. We pride ourselves on our live performance and we are not precious i.e. myself and Elmo use vintage, beat up gear and the drum-kit we use is bust but we rip into it all the same.
  2. As a band we not bow to clichés but we do wear our influences on our sleeves whilst trying to remain as original and fresh as possible.
  3. We are not arseholes but lovable chaps who happen to have a penchant for killer rock n’ roll.

Your EP ‘Friday Drive’ was released last month. How did the record come together?

The goal of this project was to have some recordings, so that we could boost our reputation throughout Auckland. We also wanted to capture the raw energy of our live shows and sound like a kick-ass garage band of course. We recorded the tracks at a friend’s (Mike Clarkin) new studio digs in Morningside (Auckland, NZ) after a failed DIY attempt at our own practise space. Once we realised that it would be a good idea to put the recording and mixing process in someone else’s qualified hands, we were able to finish the tracking in a couple of hours. Easy peezy. Our main man Mike Clarkin looked after the recording and mixing and the lovely Michelle Klassens-Rawstron handled the mastering.

Are there any songs on the EP with a special story behind them, you’d like to tell us about?

June Marine is written about my sister who is a very formidable character and I am in debt to her for shaping my own character, but the song with the most specific band story is White Trash. Anyone who listens to that track may mistake the lyrics for typical booze and sex rock lyrics, but, in truth it is a recollection of our very first live gig that happened to be a Rednecks and White Trash party on Waiheke Island (not that there was a lack of hedonism at that particular party).

What’s the usual music making process in the band and the best atmosphere for you to create songs?

Elmo and I share the song writing duties, usually it will all start with a riff and then we shape the crux of the song from that. We usually get together in a practise situation and jam ideas out searching for kernels of cool and if we hit one, then we become quite persistent and coax and stroke until it begins to take shape. The song will usually have a theme or story that hints at how we want it to sound, and we then bounce ideas back and forth until we are content we have a song.

What other bands/musicians have influenced your music?

Zeppelin was our first love, Nirvana our second and as a result have been influenced by sounds that range from The Beatles to Mudhoney – all the gooduns really.

Do you have any favourite quote/lyric by another artist?

Well I have always been fond of these delightful lines:

I am my own pet parasite
I don’t need a host to live,
we can feed off each other
we can share our endorphins

Nirvana, ‘Milk It’, In Utero, 1993

If you could pick any three bands to tour with as a part of one tour, who would it be?

Queens of the Stone Age – The Black Keys – The Datsuns – oh fark yeah!!!

What’s your most and least favourite part of today’s music industry?

All that contrived bullshit that is in our faces, on billboards, television and radio. It’s morphine for the masses and I mean no disrespect toward morphine, but people just eat that shit up and seen to become atheistically sedated in some bad-ass trip, that results in a new pair of sneakers and a power boost in ignorance. Sigh.

What’s the main ambition for Vessel?

To put smiles on faces with a bucket load of distortion sprinkled with melody, and then bottle it and traverse the world spreading this infection.

Links – BandcampFacebook, Twitter 

Interview / Adding Machine

The Adding MachineBristol based four-piece Adding Machine formed in 2011 by Hazel Mills, Greg Stoddard, Andy Sutor and TJ Allen, who have all worked with some pretty great musicians, including members of Roxy Music, Goldfrapp and Bat for Lashes. Their sound features a great mixture of post-punk, 80s synths and beautifully haunting vocals of Hazel Mills. This is the kind of sound that transforms you into a different dimension with its fascinating and mysterious allure.

In the following interview, you’ll get to find out about the forming of Adding Machine, their interesting collaborations, upcoming plans and more.

What’s the story behind forming of Adding Machine?

Hazel Mills: Adding Machine started life as my solo project. Tim (TJ Allen) and I had been working together for a few years on various projects, including Andy Mackay + The Metaphors, and he also produced my debut EPs. Greg (Stoddard) and Andy (Sutor) joined the live band for my album launch in 2010, and we just gelled. The fact that we were having so much fun and that it was becoming really collaborative meant it was the logical step.

How would you describe your sound and what do you think makes your band stand out in today’s music scene?

It’s a mixture of elements of post-punk, krautrock and wonky 80s synths/drum machines. We’ve thrown in a bit of doom on occasion too, and are really influenced by a lot of 70s/80s horror soundtracks. The four of us have quite different musical backgrounds, which often makes for some interesting combinations.

You’ve also worked, or are currently working with some other great artists/bands. Could you tell us about it?

Yes, Tim and I (as I mentioned before) have worked with Andy Mackay (Roxy Music) on his solo album and tour. I’ve also done a few shows with Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory in his Moog Ensemble (a group of 11 odd synth players), and hope to do more in the future – a really surreal and worth while experience! Tim’s also been touring with Bat For Lashes for the past year as a member of the live band. They’ll be supporting Depeche Mode in September, which is pretty nuts.

What can you tell us about your track ‘Ships to Sink’?

It started off as almost a wonky waltz, and was nearly shelved until Tim did a new arrangement (using the instrumentation that you’ll hear on the finished version). The four of us then developed it in the studio together. I love the junk-shop percussion in verse two – we had a lot of fun dropping weights and bags of bottles on the wooden floor in the live room and compressing the hell out of them.

Are you planning on recording some new material in the near future?

Adrian Utley (Portishead) is going to be producing some tracks for us – we’re currently talking dates in the studio in a couple of months when Tim’s back from the BFL tour. Other than that, we’ve been doing a lot of our own recording and demoing at our own studio.

Are there any musicians you admire or got inspired by to become a musician?

There are so many people who have inspired us individually over the years. Here are a few of them:

HM: Steve Reich, Jim Morrison, Grace Slick.

GS: Tom Waits, Jonny Greenwood, The Cure.

AS: John Bonham, Randy Rhoads, my brother John Sutor.

TA: Delia Derbyshire, Robin Guthrie, Christian Fennesz.

How is the Bristol music scene at the moment and how do you think you fit in?

There are quite a few pretty great bands around in Bristol at the moment. I saw Thought Forms supporting Chelsea Light Moving a couple of weeks back, and was completely blown away. There’s also Cursor Major, ANTA, Beak>, Fauns. These guys are all friends of ours (and most of which are bands we have played/are playing with) – there’s a definite communal feel to the Bristol music scene.

Where would you like to see yourselves five years from now?

We don’t tend to think that far ahead! Hopefully we’ll still be doing what we love.

Links – SoundcloudWebsite, Facebook, Twitter

Ones To Watch – The Diamond Noise Interview

The London based rock and roll 4-piece The Diamond Noise storm in with truly thrilling, energy-awakening and infectious noise, that’s packed with all the aspects of a proper rock and roll bliss. The striking guitar riffs, drums beats and vocals blend in effectively and create an exciting and powerful sound storm.

The band are releasing their next single Do You Like Me Too? in September and they’re also planning their first UK tour!

Find out more about The Diamond Noise in the following interview with Hugh Viney (vocals).

Can you tell us the story of how you all met and formed the band?

I was at uni with Hugh SM (drums), school with Luke (bass) and Scott (guitar) is my brother. So it was pretty easy getting the band together after finishing university in London. We used to run our own club nights and the band came out of that.

How would you describe your act in the style of an advert?

This one from Artrocker is our favourite so far: “”Sexily monolithic guitar heaviness which sounds like rock hail descending from a QOTSA fork lightning power blues sky”

You’ve recently released a track off your debut EP called ‘Catastrophic’, for which you’ve also made a video. How was the filming of it?

We dreamed up the concept in 2 hours and took 2 hours to film it on 2 iPhones. We wanted to capture the immediacy of the song and get across the TDN live experience, without over-thinking the concept.

What’s your favourite track on the EP and which one do you enjoy playing live the most?

We’ve all got different favourites. ‘Blue Champagne’ has recently been a favourite live because the crowd has responded so well. But the next single ‘Do You Like Me Too?’, which we are releasing as the title track off the EP in September, seems to be getting the biggest reaction from everyone at the moment.

What do you think is the main attraction of your live performance?

Our energy and ‘togetherness’ as a unit. We are a classic rock 4-piece that holds nothing back live. It’s our biggest strength. Come see for yourself.

Who writes the songs and what’s the usual music making process in the band?

This can vary. Most commonly me and Scott come up with the core of the song – the chords, melody, basic sturcture and lyrics – and then everyone adds their own Diamond Noise juice into the final product. But Luke also composes, like with ‘Yippie Yeah’, where he wrote all the music first and I added the melody and lyrics after.

Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with in the future?

QOTSA – or is that too obvious?

Can you name three albums you never get bored of listening to?

The Strokes – Is This It
QOTSA – Songs For The Deaf
The National – High Violet

What do you think about the current music scene? Which artists/bands are your favourite at the moment?

NME still think Liam Gallagher is relevent. ‘Nuf said. Obviously there are still some great new bands emerging. God Damn for one.

What’s next for The Diamond Noise and what’s the biggest ambition that you would like to realise?

We are releasing our debut EP ‘Do You Like Me Too?’ in conjunction with our first UK tour in September and October. As for ambition, we just want to be touring our album next year, hopefully round the world. Ha! …

Links – SoundcloudWebsite, Facebook, Twitter