Monday, January 30, 2012

South Of Ramona, Marinade

Posted By on January 30, 2012, 9:00 AM

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While the festivals have commanded a lot of the venues over the past several days, things started returning to normal this weekend as it all came winding down. --- Usually the week of films brings with it dozens of surprise shows and abnormal showcases that entertain those looking for a break, not counting the late-night parties and private functions.

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As we get back to normal here in the area, this weekend we headed over to The Woodshed (now with darts, extra games and, for some reason, a pair of Blues Brothers busts) to bring you interviews and pics from a pair of local bands -- the indie-folk stylings from South of Ramona and the funky-blues jam band Marinade. You can check out over 150 pics from the event in this gallery here.



South Of Ramona (Keith Araneo, Richard Dean, Eric Lo and Michael “Thom” Brown)

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SouthOfRamona.com



Gavin: Hey, guys. First off, tell us a little about yourselves.



Dean: South Of Ramona is a Salt Lake City band that performs music over a range of genres ,drawing inspiration from punk, psychedelic, pop and traditional Romani music. It is the seamless mixture and execution of these styles that produce South of Ramona’s signature sound. The band features Keith Araneo on banjo, Michael “Thom” Brown on drums, myself on vocals and bass, and Eric Lo on guitar. Simple layering is the key. Lively, yet controlled, rhythms form the backdrop for powerful and melodic guitar licks. The deconstructed bluegrass and lead-guitar-style solos from the banjo follow a crooning, weathered voice, creating rock and roll steeped in American folk sensibilities.

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Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?



Eric: I have been playing music since I was five. Growing up, I was always surrounded by friends who shared that love. It wasn’t until recently that I decided I was ready for the world to hear what I can create. My favorite acts currently are The White Stripes, The Black Keys and The Black Angels.



Keith: My parents always listened to classic rock and oldies when I was growing up. They even named me after a Rolling Stone. I guess I kinda take music for granted. I need and think about music the way I need and think about the ground under my feet.



Thom: I started playing drums as a fluke in my childhood but then it really took me. I started building a base of what kind of music I was interested in and what inspired me. I was heavily influenced growing up by drummers like Ronnie Vanucci and Dominic Howard. Some of the bands that I’m currently listening to are Miniature Tigers, Vampire Weekend and The Black Keys.



Dean: Music has always been a part of my life. Growing up, I listened to everything. As an artist, the Goo Goo Dolls, U2, Switchfoot, DMB, and Snow Patrol have been influential. But lately, I’ve been listening to Jeff Buckley, James Morrison and Mat Kearney.



Gavin: How did you all get together to form South Of Ramona?



Eric: Keith and I started the band from jamming a few times and realized that our styles got along really well. We just kept coming up with new songs that sounded amazing. From there on, we have had a vision of what we wanted so we selected Thorn for his diverse drumming style and Dean came along to fill in the bass and lend us his beautiful voice.

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Gavin: What was it like for each of you to come together and hammer out this kind of melodic indie-folk sound?



Eric: We all share a belief in keeping the parts that each individual plays simple. With this simplicity, it allows us to layer the instruments, creating a melodic soundscape and a lot of dynamics.



Thom: I’ve definitely matured a great deal. It has helped define my style of playing and what I like to do on the kit. These guys inspire me to find creative ways to express myself that will blend nicely with what they in turn are trying to do. Some days, it’s really hard to find the sound we are looking for, and others it comes completely naturally.



Dean: It’s definitely a departure from playing music as a solo act, which is all I’ve ever done. Working through that to bring something the four of us created is immensely gratifying, though.



Gavin: Being relatively new, how has it been for you to perform around the city and get the word out about the band?



Keith: I love it. Honestly, winning the adoration of Salt Lake City has been, and continues to be, a challenge, but we get to take a risk few take, and either walk away having pleased someone with our music or needing to put more work into something we all love.

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Gavin: You have some music floating around but nothing official at the moment. What's the word on recordings and when can we expect to see an album or EP?



Eric: We’ve just finished recording and are currently mixing a live five-song live demo that will be available at our next show at Bar Deluxe on Feb. 9.



Gavin: Have you given any thought to touring beyond the Wasatch Front, or are you sticking to home for now?



Thom: Absolutely. There is still more we need to do here, such as establish a bigger fan base, get an EP recorded, and write more songs. It’s going to happen soon. The plan is this summer, if things work out.

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Gavin: Moving on to statewide stuff, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?



Thom: Well ,there is some interesting stuff here in SLC. A surprising amount of heavy metal bands are out there. Provo has a much larger indie-scene than up here, so we might look to playing some shows down there, as well, but SLC is our home.



Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it more prominent?



Keith: One venue needs to incontestably rise above the rest as “Salt Lake’s place to play.” Right now, the closest Salt Lake has to that is Urban Lounge, which kicks ass and Will Sartain is great to work with, but Bar Deluxe has better acoustics and gear. It’s also a lot easier to get booze at the Garage, which is important for people going out to have fun. I guess in the long term, more venues that accommodate all-ages shows would be really good for Salt Lake, for a number of reasons.



Thom: I think it comes down to the venues sometimes. A lot of the good music venues here are 21-and-over, and the ones that aren’t are booked by the big-shot bands. It would be nice to have some all-ages venues, where people could come chill and listen to a little more relaxed rock than what we normally see here. It would really open up the age groups and stimulate other types of genres.



Dean: Promotion, and accessibility, especially for the under-21 demographic. And definitely more venues like The Velour, whose sole purpose is music.

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Gavin: Not including yourselves, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?



Eric: The Brumbies and Folk Hogan!



Keith: Eagle Twin, Birthquake, Cornered By Zombies, Laser Weasel, Junior Giant, The Future Of The Ghost, LOOM, Ferocious Oaks, Sugartown and Folk Hogan.



Gavin: What's your opinion on the current airplay on community radio and how it affects local musicians?



Eric: Airplay is a really effective way for a band to spread their music. KRCL does a great job supporting local musicians.

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Gavin: With so many sources out there to get music off the Web, both for publicity and sharing, what are your thoughts on putting out free tracks for anyone to listen to?



Thom: It’s something we are going to do; we will put a few out there. Obviously in the future, we would like to make a buck or two selling our CDs. We want to put enough out there that people get curious and want to hear and see more.



Keith: Working for free is something every professional has to do at one point. I’m okay with our music being free for now.



Gavin: What can we expect from you guys over the rest of this year and going into next?



Thom: Some big growth. We are writing new songs, and with each song we write our tracks get better. We are still pretty young, but I think this year is going to be big for us.

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Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?



Eric: The photographer we’ve worked with, Jake Buntjer



Keith: Cal Cruz at Midnight Records, and we’ve got a great show lined up at Bar Deluxe on Feb. 9 with The Brumbies.





Marinade (Jimmy Lauscher, Matt Pizza, Talia Keys, James Travino and Spencer Kellogg)

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MarinadeMusic.com



Gavin: Hey, guys. First off, tell us a little about yourselves.



Talia: We are a rag-tag group of musician fiends from all over the world! Well, more like the USA, but all of us have lived in Utah for a considerable amount of time. I am a born-and-raised Utahn and have been playing music since I was nine. Started out on drums, then piano, guitar and mandolin. The bass player, James aka "Dad" aka "Minister of Meat" aka "LiBear" Trevino and myself worked together and have jammed in a few bands and we started Marinade. Matt Pizza, our percussion player, joined shortly after, followed by Jimmy Rockstar on lead guitar, and Spencer Kellogg on saxophone. Jimmy and Spencer have played together in several projects and both have degrees in music. We jammed a few times together, made some magical music, had a few lineup changes in the band and became the solid five piece that we have been for the last two years.
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Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Talia: My mom had the best taste in music and I grew up listening to Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, Janis Joplin, the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and the more I heard, the more I needed to hear. I had quite the obsession with Elvis Presley from about age nine to11 and continue to enjoy his music. As an early teen, I found Bob Marley and was forever changed. Many females inspire me, as well: Nina Simone, Alice Russell, Adele, Etta James and, of course, Miss Aretha Franklin. We all have many different musical tastes but we can always find something on any one of our iPods to listen to that we like -- Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin or any of the bands I mentioned previously.

Gavin: How did you all get together to form Marinade?

Talia: Marinade was an eight-piece at one point -- through growth and many shows, having the current members sit in as guests with the original lineup, things just meshed and ended up working out. We trimmed down to the five piece about two years ago and haven't looked back. Utah has an incestuous music scene so we all knew each other from other bands.

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Gavin: Your sound tends to come off like a reggae-blues jam session. How did you decide upon the kind of music you all wanted to play and how was it performing it in that fashion?



Talia: We just did, being that our favorite types of music are the types we play: blues, funk, reggae, soul, jazz, rock 'n' roll and, of course, we have to jam it all! Performing is fun and spontaneous for us. Even though we are a very tight band, we still aren't always sure what song is happening next or what song we will flow the current one into. Also, all of our solos are fresh off the mind to the fingers and hands; not much is pre-written except the song structure and lyrics itself.



Gavin: Considering the type of music you play, how has it been for you playing gigs and becoming known in our music scene?



Talia: It's been up and down, but mostly up. We provide a wide array of tunes so it's easy for us to adapt to our environment. We have a great local following and support group and it only continues to grow. Getting your music out to the masses is the band's job. I can't tell you how many times I e-mailed Dan Nailen about Marinade to get a story out, and we finally did get our story in the City Weekly! Thanks, Austen Diamond. We have over 50 upcoming gigs until July, so I think we are doing pretty good!

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Gavin: Shortly after you formed ,you released the EP It's Juicy. What was it like for you recording that, and what issues did you deal with along the way?



Talia: It was my first time recording in a "studio," so for me it was a little bit of everything -- excitement, nervous, stress, and just happy to be doing something I love and having my songs on tape. Some issues were basic; not enough time, recording solos live, and having some vocal issues, too. All in all, it was a great experience. We learned a lot and would totally go into the studio and do it all differently.



Gavin: What did you think of the public reaction when it was released?



Talia: Not sure. I think they liked it, but could tell it wasn't totally professional. I also heard they wanted more! "Roses," the first track, seems to be a fan favorite.

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Gavin: You're one of the few bands who actually tour around on a regular basis. What made you decide to get out of the state so frequently, and how has touring impacted you as a band?



Talia: Touring was our next step. We hope to tour a lot and play elsewhere often. We started just touring Utah and found that people liked our music and would keep coming back each time. I have been to Colorado before and I knew they love live music so that was our next destination. We also traveled for some music festivals and gained some exposure there, as well. We have played in Arizona, Idaho, Colorado and all over Utah. I am currently booking a spring tour through Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, back through Colorado and ending it in Moab for Desert Rocks Music Festival. Touring has strengthened our band as a whole, musically and emotionally. We have spent many hours in our van! We also are an extremely well-oiled machine -- we can set up and break down faster than most bands. It has kept us super-tight and helped us not get "stale," as far as sound and our live shows.



Gavin: It's been a while since you've had a release. Are there any plans for an album or an EP in the works?



Talia: Absolutely. With touring comes costs: gas, food, lodging, and van troubles -- lots and lots of van troubles. We have been in debt almost two years and we are finally at the end of the debt tunnel. So now our money we make on merchandise and whatnot will go straight to our album fund. We are also toying around with possibly doing an online fundraiser like KickStarter. We have almost 30 originals, so we plan on recording the best of the best in the studio and then releasing some live recordings, as well.

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Gavin: Moving on to statewide stuff, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?



Talia: Utah has soooooo many talented bands it's absolutely incredible. We also have a very diverse scene. With so many bands, though, you need fans, too, and sometimes I feel there are way more bands than fans. It's also hard when you and three of your favorite bands are gigging on the same night. I will go and see live music most nights I'm not playing, and I feel like our scene would benefit if more bands went out and supported each other.



Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it more prominent?



Talia: More advertising on the bars behalf. Bands can only do so much to advertise, and I think a lot of venues have dropped the ball there. Also, more local music festivals would be cool. All in all, we have a lot of cool music and shows in Salt Lake City.

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Gavin: Not including yourselves, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?



Talia: Pour Horse, Red Dog Revival, Stonefed, Samuel Smith Band, Tony Holiday, The Vision, Nathan Spenser & The Low Keys, La Noche and Holy Water Buffalo, just to name a few.



Gavin: What's your opinion on the current airplay on community radio and how it affects local musicians?



Talia: I think it's okay, I feel like a lot of the same local bands get played day after day, and it would be really cool to hear some others. Radio can definitely help us little guys out.

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Gavin: With so many sources out there to get music off the Web, both for publicity and sharing, what are your thoughts on putting out free tracks for anyone to listen to?



Talia: I'm all about it. We always put free tracks up. It's how the kids get the knowhow these days. We will probably put one or two songs on our album up, but mostly we put up live recordings.



Gavin: What can we expect from you guys over the rest of this year and going into next?



Talia: Touring, dancing, new music, new album, more raunchy talk at shows, about the same amount of facial hair, some music videos, and about three live shows a week!

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Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?



Talia: Yeah, our Website, thanks to Melahn Atkinson for building it. It has had a major facelift and has all of our upcoming shows on it. It also has links to all of our different media pages, articles, music, live video and so much more!


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