CMJ Texas Takeover Party (3)

The 4th Annual CMJ Texas Takeover Party has come and gone but the eclectic group of musicians are only getting started. Socially Superlative sat down with eight of the bands that performed in New York City this October, providing us with some anecdotes about their sound, band and how they came to be where they are today.  

 

 

CMJ Texas Takeover Party (2) CMJ Texas Takeover Party (1)

Each of them had something unique to offer and are worth checking when you are in dire need of new tunes to get lost in. You could tell these bands also had one common goal – to enjoy music to the fullest. An impromptu jam session took place at the end of the evening with various members from the different band. Music runs deep within their souls and they are happy to perform at the drop of a hat.  

 

Blue Healer LOW RES (photo by Alexis Davis)

Blue Healer

It’s near impossible not to fan girl over these gents and be drawn to their dynamic personalities on and off stage. The interview started out as an impromptu “therapy session” in my little corner of the bar, digging “deep” into our childhood and how Legos got us to where we are today.  Throughout our chat I found out the “funnest” person in the band is David, but I have to say Bryan has the best full body hair. I wouldn’t mind be their roadie (for a week.) It certainly wouldn’t be boring and their incredible music would be the soundtrack for much of the crazy journey.

Q: Tell me who the heck you guys are because I just keep calling you collectively Blue Healer?

David Beck: Bass/Singer
Bryan Mammel: Keys
Dees Stribling: Drummer

Q: How long have you boys been playing music?

A: Together, only since January but we have all been playing music for years. We knew each other from the music scene but played indifferent bands before starting Blue Healer. We all played and toured nationally together in previous projects, including Austin-based Sons of Fathers, where David was a primary singer and writer.

Q: What is your musical influences? Who would you say you sound like if someone asked?

A: We have a wide variety of background. Online he band is described as mixing distorted upright bass, shimmering guitar, analog synths, and drums blending a unique mesh of indie rock and dance sounds into the familiar fabric of classic songwriting. Picture the face of pop accessibility with the teeth of basement rock n’ roll – the songs sink in and don’t let go. We blend a lot of weird things and some musical influences are Curt Cobain and Tears for Fears.

Q: If you wanted someone that never heard your music before to really understand your style, what one or two songs from your compilations would you point them towards?

A: “30,000 FT” and “It’s Only the Rain.” 

Q: What are some of your favorite things about being in a band, particularly the one you are in?

A: We just love making music as our lively hood. We really enjoy making music videos. The journey is the best part. You want to be in a band that doesn’t have internal conflicts and just enjoy being together.

Q: Dream venue to perform at and where have you already performed that was meaningful?

A: Red Rock would be the ultimate venue and Stubs in Austin has been most meaningful thus far.

Q: What can we look forward to from you guys?  

A: A record in 2016 for sure. We have a solid batch of songs right now.

 

 

Gio Chamba

Gio Chamba

Q: How long have you been making music?   

A: We’ve been making music for the greater part of 14 years with different groups. We’ve only been playing together for about 2 years.  

Q: How would you describe your style of music and your sound?

A: We play traditional Latin music but with new sounds and electronic music. An EDM feel with Latin flavor. Music from Mexico and Columbia is a huge influence for us. We are blending traditional and folkloric music, such as Colombian Cumbia with electronic dance elements and urban beats. It’s something for everyone. The older and younger generations. Just connecting everyone.  

Q: If you wanted someone that never heard your music before to really understand your style, what one or two songs from your compilations would you point them towards?

A: ChipiChipi and Soul Right. ChipiChipi really embodies the melting pot that is Houston.  

Q: What can your audience expect from your performances?

A: Intensity. Not matter what the setting is, large or intimate. We want it to feel like a family party and invite the audience to be a part of the show. We want those who were at the show to walk away with lots of feelings, to really with them all the emotions of our music.    

 

  Kay Weathers

Kay Weathers

This chick has so much depth to her which is what makes her a solid musician. She reaches deep down into her soul and pulls out lyrics that mean something to her. Obviously she wants her audience to resonate with them but it’s also clear that the music is as much therapeutic for her, as it is entertainment for others. The support she showed for her fellow musicians was palpable and hanging out with her outside the interview during the sets was just as fun as watching her perform.

Q: Where is your hometown?

A: I’m from a small town in Louisiana. In fact I grew up near an alligator farm. A little different from the past 12 years I’ve spend in Houston, Texas.

Q: What instruments do you play other than having a great voice? 

A: I also play the guitar and keys in addition to singing.

Q: You are a solo performer. Is this what you prefer?  

A: It’s a lot less stressful and I can make my own schedule. I don’t have to worry about people not showing up to rehearsal. I’ve been in bands in the past though.

Q: How do you feel when you play? It seems like you have a deep passion.

A: How I feel is strange. It’s a feeling in my gut when I’m playing the guitar and singing. I want everyone to feel my music and my words whether I’m sad or angry or heart broken and shit. That’s why I write the music and it’s my passion. I do enjoy performing but it is about feeding off the energy in the room. During one performance someone was just not into it, not paying attention and it threw me off and somewhat ruined my vibe about the show. Right now thought it feels like everything has clicked, it’s all coming together musically for me.

 

 
KEEPER

Keeper

Q: How did your band come to fruition and how would you describe your music?

A: It was first a friendship between us three (Yadira Brown, Erin Jantzen and Lani Camille Thomison.) We were in a close-nit scene of music lovers in Austin in 2009. We were collaborating in other bands and doing multiple projects but realized we wanted to do our own thing, on our own terms. Our music can be described as underground hip hop with some R&B throwback and electronic. It’s super diverse.  

Q: How is it being in an all-female group?

A: The energy is amazing and it is really powerful to have all women in a band. We have played with males in the past, mainly accompanying them vocally.  

Q: Does your band play any instruments? Do you write your own music?

A: We are all singers and our vocals are the instruments. We have a passion for harmonizing. We do write our own music and sometimes perform covers of other songs.  

Q: Where can your fans find your music?  

A: We have actually had one of our tracks featured on the 2nd season of Broad City on Comedy Central.  The song is “Happy To Be Sad.”  

Q: Where can we catch you next?  

A: We will be playing at Fun, Fun, Fun in Austin on November 8th.      

 

LEV

LEV

Why oh why can’t we all be as cool as LEV? When she first sat down for my interview I have to say I was a bit intimidated. But soon we were talking music and pizza smothered in Ranch Dressing along with reminiscing about the days of jamming with a Walkman. Would love to be part of her one person disco loving “squad.”

Q: Where are you from originally and where do you now reside?

A: I’m originally from Tyler, Texas and now live in Dallas.

Q: How would you describe your music style and has it always been what you were interested in pursuing as a genre?

A: I’ve always been drawn to Disco. You could always find me listening to tapes on my Walkman. None of my friends liked The Bee Gees but that didn’t matter. My thing was disco ball and disco floors so my music style can only be described as 80s Electronic Pop.

Q: What is your musical influence/ favorite band or song? 

A: Growing up it was DC Talk. Right now it’s the song CraneKiss. You REALLY need to check it out when you go home.

Q: Other than performing what do you like to do. 

A: I really love eating and writing music. I’d be happy with some pizza right now. I equally love writing my music and performing though.

Q: What is your dream venue?  

A: I’m going to dream big and go with Madison Square Garden. Club Dada in Dallas has been my favorite venue so far though. It’s where I had my EP release show for “Fear No Evil” this past May.

 

 

Mobley Press Photo

Mobley

Q: What are your musical influences?

A: Everything. It seems futile to even confine the idea of musical influences to other music. Some of the best musical ideas I’ve had have been sparked by conversations with friends, things I’ve read or watched, or just hearing an exciting sound.  

Q: Was this your first time performing in NYC? Did it live up to your expectations?

A: This was my third time coming through NYC and it was the best yet.  

Q: Have you performed with band in the past? When your first recollection of knowing music is was for you?  A: This is my first and only musical project. I decided to become a musician when I was freshman in college.  

Q: If you wanted someone that never heard your music before to really understand your style, what one or two songs from your compilations would you point them towards?

A: Witch Me Well and Torch  

Q: Do you write all your own music?

A: Yes, but I had a great conversation yesterday about authorship. I think we concluded that no one really ever writes anything alone.  

Q: Do you feel more passionate about the writing portion if so, or performing. Or is it equally exhilarating

A: They scratch different itches. Writing is more deeply rewarding, but harder for me to control; I’m at the mercy of inspiration. While performing is somewhat less rewarding, I feel I have easier access to the exhilaration it brings.  

Q: Dream venue to perform at and where have you already performed that was meaningful?

Dream venue: International Space Station. Favorite venue: Your headphones.      

 

 

 

 

MOJI

Moji

How could you not like a band that took a moment of silence when realizing we were all generally concerned about Lamar Odom’s medical condition? Moji is comprised of three very different and unique, yet perfectly in sync artists.  On the heels of their debut release, MOJI was nominated for three 2015 Houston Press Music Awards for Best Female Vocalist, Best New Act, and Best Soul/Funk/R&B Act and deemed the 2015 “Best Band to Get Together in the Past Year”. They are a dynamic band on and off the stage which makes them that much more enjoyable.

Q: Where is the band based out of and have you ever played

A: We are based out of Houston and this is our first time every playing in NYC. That said we’ve only been a band just shy of 1.5 years. The members of the band are David Garcia on drums, Troy Creagh on guitar, and Moji Abiola singing. MOJI is a three-piece indie-rock band whose style is based in blues and jazz.

Q: How did you guys (and lady) come together?

A: We actually found Troy at an open mic night. We were super sick of trying to find our third band member on Craigslist. David and I (Moji) were so impressed with his Jazz skills that night.

Q: How did you guys (and lady) come together?

A: We actually found Troy at an open mic night. We were super sick of trying to find our third band member on Craigslist. David and I (Moji) were so impressed with his Jazz skills that night. He was fierce. We were so happy to finally find him after what we can only describe as terrible American Idol auditions.

Q: If you wanted someone that never heard your music before to really understand your style, what one or two songs from your compilations would you point them towards?

A: Ceasefire and I.O.U

Q: Dream venue to perform at and where have you already performed that was meaningful?

A: We opened up for Of Monsters and Men in Houston. It was in front of like 1,600 people. We dream of performing at Madison Square Garden.

Q: Who would people compare you to musically?

A: People have said Grace Jones and Ella Fitzgerald.

 

 

Say Girl Say

Say Girl Say

Q: What are your musical influences?

A: Bjork, The Beatles, Beyonce, Bon Iver, Feist, Dirty Projectors.

Q: Was this your first time performing outside of Texas?

A: Yes, it was our first time playing as a band in NYC and it was great, especially being able to perform alongside our Htown friends like Moji, and Gio Chamba.

Q: Have you performed in other bands in the past or solo – how is Say Girl Say different

A: Luke – I played drums in a death metal band about 6 years ago, I would say it was a little different than Say Girl Say. But other than that this is our first project where we are all pitching in our own ideas with writing and performing. Thinking more outside the box.

Q: Where did the name of your band come from?

A: Brigette – Suzan and I were good friends for a little while before we started the band. “Say girl, say!” It’s just how we communicate with each other and greet one another in a loving and energetic way. We wanted to pick a name that expressed who we are and what we are about, its unity, love, being true to yourself and keeping it real.

Q: If you wanted someone that never heard your music before to really understand your style, what one or two songs from your compilations would you point them towards?

A: Ayahua and Naked.

Q: Do you write all your own music?

A: YES! DUH!

Q: Do you feel more passionate about the writing portion or performing? Or is it equally exhilarating?

A: Writing first, then performing. Both require an extensive amount of work, but writing is the best. Our style of writing is mostly based on natural instincts and improvising with music. It’s when we tap into the universe.

Q: Dream venue to perform at and where have you already performed that was meaningful?

A: Hot springs in Iceland with Bjork and champagne.

– Lauren Wire