Monday, August 3, 2009
You ever go to a club to see a band perform and you have to sit through several "lame" bands to get to the one you wanted to see in the first place? Well, I had that mindset a while back when I went to one of my favorite clubs, the Somewhere Else Tavern (SWET) in Greensboro,NC. I went to see some friends of mine play and I didn't know most of the other bands on the bill. I missed the first band and was waiting for band number two to finish setting up.
Well, the next forty five minutes proved to be a very rewarding experience to me. The second band was Redshift out of Washington,DC. From their opening song, you could tell that there was something a little different about these guys. They were serious and they meant business. The band was very tight and cranked through song after song. Songs such as "Bleed Me Dry" and "Satellite" showed that the band combined the best of driving rock and roll, catchy hooks and a sound that demands your attention.
I spoke with the band after their show and lined up the following interview that was very revealing.
JP: Let me start off by telling the readers that the band consists of Jake Mimikos on vocals and guitar, Pete Torres on bass, Shawn Battle on drums and vocals and Ron Cruz on guitar. So, where did the name Redshift originate from?
Redshift: We were looking for a name that would sum up our music, energy and what we were trying to portray as a band. Redshift first caught our attention as a good sounding word. The meaning of Redshift hit everything that we felt we were trying to convey. It means a large burst of energy that shifts the light spectrum to red, one example was the birth of a star.
JP: So how long have you guys been together?
Redshift: Originally, we started about three years ago. Over that time, we got Paulo playing bass about a year and a half ago and then Ron about five months ago. So honestly, we feel like we have a new beginning, the lineup was finalized when Ron joined the band. We feel like we are one cohesive unit now. We just recently had Pete Torres take over duty on bass.
JP: Funny you should say that. I was going to comment on the fact Ron joined the band after you recorded your EP "Into The Oblivion". Do you think that he has changed your sound any?
Redshift: Yes, we feel he has changed the sound slightly. he comes with more of a classic rock feel, so his sound will put more of that element in our songs. I don't think it will change the sound drastically, but it will fill in alot of space in songs. Sometimes music can be too precise, Ron brings that almost psychotic, unorthodox attitude to the band. It gives it an edge that is missing in today's rock. More importantly, Ron brings an energy that is unmatched and has brought our live performance to a new level.
JP: I do have to admit that after seeing you guy splay live at the SWET, Ron is alot of fun to watch onstage. In between songs, he is constantly riffing bits and pieces of songs. I kept hearing Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher" that night when I saw you.
JP: Who do you guys sight as your musical influences?
Redshift: We all take influences from different rock eras. mainly heavy, driven rock and roll. Jake's influence came from 90s grunge and new metal era bands like Pearl Jam, Audioslave, Muse and Coheed and Cambria to name a few. You can see a heavy influence of Van Halen, Led Zepplin and late 70s early 80s rock in Ron's style. Shawn grew up on Motley Crue and played in hardcore bands. He loved the straight forward pounding style of Tommy Lee, which gives Redshift its hard rock groove. JP: At your shows, you mention the Jagermeister is a sponsor and you give out freebies from them. That's a pretty major score for a new band. How did you hook up with them?
Redshift: We first contacted them and told them that we loved Jagermeister and of course we pestered them for a while and sent them our music. They finally responded saying that they liked our music and that they would put us on a trial period where they send us Jager merch and we had to prove we were worthy. We ended up putting together videos and slideshows of our performances showing us promoting the product on stage and at shows and sent them to our rep. He ended up loving them and we were sponsored within two weeks.
JP: You guys seem to love to play live. What are you best and worst road stories?
Redshift: Well, we love being on the road and checking out new places. Anytime we drive hours away and find ourselves in good company and playing in front of a large crowd, it's always a positive experience. We especially love being able to stop at a Waffle House on the way from a show. Our worst experience was finding out our show was cancelled after we had promoted it and driven half way there. Of course, it never helps driving long distances when Ron has to take a leak every five minutes!
JP: What's it like trying to get this dream going when the music industry is in such a time of turmoil?
Redshift: It certainly makes it more of a challenge and that's how we look at it. It pushes us even harder though. The industry is going through some changes now and that's fine with us. We are going to make music regardless of the status of the industry, even if we have to do all the work ourselves. This is the path we've chosen!
JP: So, tell me ...do you guys have any printable guilty pleasures for your fans?
Redshift: Ha ha! Well, Shawn loves 80s hair bands and spandex and rocks out with them all the time. Ron sings Michael Jackson songs really well without warning and Jake used to love Madonna...and still rocks out to her!!
JP: You guys probably don't get alot of down time. In that rare chance that it does happen, how do you like to spend it?
Redshift: Shawn hits the river by his house and goes fishing on his canoe all by his lonesome self. Ron sleeps because if its a day that ends with Y, he probably hasn't slept at all. Jake usually hits the gym or cries himself to sleep.
JP: Quick, one word to describe each other...what would it be?
Redshift: Jake: zany, Shawn: idiotic, Ron: screw loose!
JP: I like to ask this of all my bands that I interview. If you were trapped on a desert island with only one store bought CD, what would you want to have there with you?
Redshift: Jake would want Guns and Roses "Use Your Illusion 1", Shawn would want CCR "Greatest Hits", Ron would want Van Halen's first CD.
I have to add that the interview was done before Pete Torres took over on bass and i apologize to pete for not having his input on the answers. The band is currently burning up the road and playing every place that will let them plug up an amp. You most definitely want to catch these boys live. Anyone can record a CD, but the real proof is in their live show and these guys do not disappoint. The mixture of Jake's commanding vocals and Ron's intricate guitar guitar work along with the back beat of Shawn on drums and Pete on bass, this band is one strong cohesive unit. You mix in some catchy tunes that have you rocking along within minutes and you have a deadly combination. The band has opened for bands such as Def Leppard, Thriving Ivory,Candlebox, Lifehouse and Poison. You can catch them now or read about them later when they're in the big time!