Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Bip Bip Bip, MiNX

Posted By on September 10, 2013, 7:00 PM

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Comic Con may have dominated the weekend, but it really wasn't the only thing happening. --- A lot of local shows dragged out the crowds looking for something to do after the convention that had nothing to do with geek-related works before heading back into the mix. This past Friday at The Woodshed, MiNX held their monthly Ladies Night, featuring bands with women performers, with Bip Bip Bip and our old friends The Wild Ones joining them on stage.

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Today, I chat with the first two, along with photos of the evening, which you can check out in this gallery here.



Bip Bip Bip (Sayde Price & David Payne)

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



Sayde: Dave is right-handed, plays the drums and textures the atmosphere with unmatched intuition. Sayde is left-handed and colors the words. Bip Bip Bip is a drowsy, soft shock. near the river. still awake.



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



Sayde: Art. I like to make things and sound just made the most sense. Haven't really been able to give it up, I guess.

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Gavin: How did you all come together to form Bip Bip Bip, and where does the name come from?



Dave: We met playing in Block Swon string group. And outside of Bip Bip Bip, we also play together with Halee Jean in Salt Lake City's oldest and best rock group, Red Bennies. And also in Jazz Jaguars.



Gavin: What was it like defining your sound and putting it together for live performances?



Sayde: Well, in this case, I think figuring out how to perform evolved pretty naturally. We had spent half a year or so making a record before we played our first show, so the experimentation during that process informed the way I was thinking about performance. For me, it was less about external imposition and more about testing how a collaborative process could augment the qualities already embedded in the material we were working with.

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Gavin: Being relatively new, what has it been like playing around town and gaining an audience?



Sayde: There are varying degrees of energy in each audience and performance situation, and that's an aspect of playing music that interests me. To watch and hear these pieces as the context shifts around you. I think it inevitably ends up informing the way we play, even if changes highly nuanced.



Gavin: Are there any plans to record an album yet or are you just making music for now?



Sayde: Plans to out the record we have just finished! Thinking like, November probably.

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Gavin: Would you consider touring somewhere down the road, or will you mainly stick to Utah for now?



Sayde: Once we have played everywhere that will have us in Salt Lake City and no one will give us any shows, it will be time to hit the road. For now, I think Utah is lovely. Dave?



Gavin: Going local, what are your thoughts on the music scene, both good and bad?



Dave: There is a lack of rock bars downtown where I'm friends with the booker. So, no scene at all for me. In the old days, there were always at least three bars I could get a weekend at, so once or twice a month, lots of the same people would repeatedly convene for similar and regular events. I haven't played a weekend in a long time, and haven't seen anyone in the audience in a long time.

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



Dave: Celebrate local acts as hyped and valuable openers for popular out-of-town bands, duh. Then, you don't have to worry about them bringing anyone, and then they WILL be able to bring people on other nights.



Sayde: I agree with Dave. I think if the attitude around local music were one of prioritization, and if local acts were understood as compelling rather than incidental, the shape of the scene would shift in response.



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



Dave: I like Red Bennies, Block Swon, Jazz Jaguars, Mark Dago, Rotten Musicians and I liked Night Sweats.



Sayde: I second the Red Bennies, Salt Lake Electric Ensemble, pre-LA Joshua Payne Orchestra. The Awful Truth when they were playing all the time.

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



Dave: I ONLY want to hear local music on the radio. Anytime they are allowed to play a local song, it is a wonderful, wonderful thing.



Gavin: What do you think of file sharing these days, both as musicians and a music lovers?



Dave: Arts and crafts: craft for money, art for free. I'm an artist, for sure.

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



Dave: Lounge night at Burt's Tiki Lounge. Different weeknight every week, if at all, always listed under Jazz Jaguars, featuring music of Red Bennies, Bip Bip Bip, Mark Dago KILLSCREEN, Block Swon, other guests, my favorite cocktail the cerebral assassin, levs and sessions, conversation -- most important -- and fun. Burt's is SLC's oldest and best live-music bar.



MiNX (Raffi & Ischa)

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MiNXBand.com



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



Raffi: Hi! We are MiNX, a two-person project that is fun, experimental and unapologetic. We feature Ischa on vocals and myself on guitar for live performances, using the multi-instrument backing tracks that we create in advance to complete our show. We like to flex our sound, and so the result is a bit of a mix tape, with references to a plethora of different genres and concepts.



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



Ischa: Older siblings and buddies introduced us to our influences. Raffi’s cousin showed him Guns “N Roses, N.W.A. and Black Sabbath, and that was enough to get him begging his parents for a guitar. My original influences range from Broadway musicals to Depeche Mode, Annie Lennox and the Pet Shop Boys, all of which hugely inspire my tastes, especially in music with electronic elements.

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Gavin: How did you both come together to first form Uncle Scam?



Raffi: I formed Uncle Scam in 2005, recruiting members of past projects on drums and to play bass. After working with several different vocalists, Ischa auditioned and was invited to join the project at the end of 2009.



Gavin: What was it like performing in that band and putting out so much material in a short amount of time?



Ischa: It was pretty exciting once we got our chemistry as a group all worked out. That allowed us to get a lot of material written and recorded pretty quickly. We rehearsed a lot, and we were pretty goal-oriented in our efforts. Raffi is extremely organized and professional in everything he does, and so thanks to him, every rehearsal was recorded and every idea was caught on tape so we could go back and work it into a full song. It was still a lot of work, but it came very naturally. All of the material on all three of the albums released as Uncle Scam were created and written with input from all four members, even though the final release, Fly Free, was actually recorded with a hired drummer, Tracy Nielson, and with Raffi filling in on bass, after our drummer and bassist left the band.

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Gavin: Without getting into the grander details, what caused you to shrink the band down to two?



Raffi: When the drummer and bassist left Uncle Scam to pursue other interests and responsibilities, Raffi and I decided that we still wanted to complete the goals we had discussed within Uncle Scam. We were on the verge of our second release, Heavy Cream, when our drummer left, and we had put a lot of work into it. We began using backing tracks out of necessity, as we only had two weeks to figure something out for our release-party performance. The result was nothing short of liberating. We used the idea to record and perform the third and ultimately final Uncle Scam album, which had already been in the works. We were proud to still create the planned animated music video for “Bump,” an homage to comedian Stephen Colbert, and really felt good about the way that we laid Uncle Scam to rest. In the meantime, a casual side project that began on Raffi’s acoustic guitar began to take center stage in our minds. With the idea of using backing tracks to expand our sound and capabilities, MiNX evolved quickly, and within one year of MiNX’s conception, we were able to release 45 songs and play full sets using only original MiNX tunes. Now, we’ve played over 100 shows as MiNX and offer 64 songs for free download on our website. We’ve already done more with MiNX in less time; we think it’s fate.



Gavin: What prompted you to change the name to MiNX, and how was it for you essentially starting over as a band under a different moniker and a new set list?

Raffi: We don’t consider it a name change. It was definitely a transition from one project to another, and even though I've been the consistent musical backbone in both projects, the material has become more and more different from our Uncle Scam material, as we have moved away from the classic four-piece rock ensemble sound and toward electronic experimentation. It was nice to have the contacts that we had made as Uncle Scam, which allowed us to continue to book shows and get a little attention from the community. It was most exciting to be creating and performing music that really came from our own taste and perspective, and allowing the evolution to happen because we had nothing to hold us back.

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Gavin: A lot of your performances incorporate many costumes and various looks. What influenced the constantly changing stage presence?



Raffi: Ischa has a background in fashion and costume creation and styling and makeup artistry. It’s another way to give our performance the multimedia experience we are trying to create. Our aesthetic is still in progress and constantly evolving; we have tons of ideas that we are working on for future shows and releases.



Gavin: Most recently, you released a full-length album called Golden. What was it like putting it together, and what issues did you deal with along the way?



Ischa: Golden was our first effort at a cohesive, somewhat-concept album for MiNX. It was also our first effort at creating an album ourselves from start to finish. We wrote, recorded, mixed, mastered and produced every bit ourselves, and it was delightfully satisfying. We’re both very passionate, and so we battle about our art sometimes and that keeps us on our toes, but we didn’t have any real issues. Overall, it was a very enjoyable process.

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Gavin: Do you have anything new in the works, or are you mainly playing gigs for now?



Raffi: We just released an acoustic EP for summer, with five pretty little songs that are easy to listen to and free to download, and we are smack-dab in the middle of recording vocals for some new material we are working on for a full-length release due out in November. We are playing fewer shows as we work on finalizing that, but we perform at the Woodshed every first Friday of the month when we host our Ladies Night -- lady-fronted bands -- and ladies get in free all night, so it’s always fun. All of our gigs are listed on our website, as well.



Gavin: Going local, what are your thoughts on the music scene, both good and bad?



Ischa: We have a huge community of talent, and a lot of very organized people trying to get their music some attention. There are a lot of bars for bands to play at, and a lot of those bars are very fair in how they compensate the performers for their work. There is also a concentrated effort by local magazines, festivals and other organizations to create opportunities for musicians to entertain, and a lot of great people put in a lot of work to make things happen. Unfortunately, our political and social climate can sometimes put a damper on things. For example, this year the Woodshed was unable to host its very popular outdoor shows on the patio because someone put fliers around the neighborhood advising people to complain to the police about the noise. We also have a smaller window of potential audience members here because people get married and have kids at a younger age, and also because of the automatic association of bands equals bars and the many people who would prefer not to be in a bar setting.

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



Raffi: It feels like it's growing a lot already. With newer festivals like Craft Lake City and The Urban Arts Festival providing more opportunities for musicians and artists, and awesome programs like MusicGarage.org and SpyHop getting the kiddos ready to rule the next generation of music, we're sitting pretty in Salt Lake City.



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



Ischa: We love Lady Murasaki, anything David Payne is part of, Oh Be Clever, Muscle Hawk, The Femme Medea, and all of the BAD KIDS -- not live music, but some of the best performance art in town!, King Niko, Spork, Sofa Sly ... there are way too many, really.

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



Raffi: We are always grateful when we get the chance to be played or come on the shows to chat or play live because we see a huge jump in our website traffic and music downloads when we do. Being heard matters, and radio is still a way that people are introduced to music. The more local features, the better; those playlists with “favorites” and “classics” on repeat aren’t inspiring anyone.



Gavin: What do you think of file sharing these days, both as musicians and a music lovers?



Ischa: We think it’s great. We offer all of our music for free download on our website, MiNXband.com. We understand that it is a disappointment for people who used to make a lot of money in the old music industry, before file-sharing became possible, but to us, it’s just a reminder that the rules are all made up as we go, and that gives us the opportunity to make up our own new rules right now.

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Gavin: What can we expect from both of you over the rest of this year?



Raffi: As we mentioned, we are working on a full-length album, scheduled for release in November. We’re planning a huge party for that, so sign up for our email list on our website and keep an eye out for your invite!



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



Ischa: Keep up on everything MiNX at MiNXband.com; download free music, watch videos, and check out our show schedule -- we’d love to see you there! Sign up for our e-mail list and we will let you know what’s up.


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