Boasting a more exploratory approach, the Grand Rapids band debuted new tracks for Local Spins on WYCE, which also premiered music by Pretoria, Cal in Red, Rick Chyme, Chris Canas and more.
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Melophobix embraces the motto, “The more, the merrier.”
It’s just like the funky rock- and ska-tinged band from Grand Rapids to welcome and relish the notion of pumping up a hefty audience with its party-styled, dance-kindling attack.
“We love to see the energy in the crowd and people moving around,” said singer and guitarist Stefan Schwartz. “The best shows we’ve played have been to the largest crowds. The more people, the better. We just love that.”
Added trumpeter and singer Geoff Hansen: “It’s the energy. We feed off each other and we feed off the crowd. We all have been practiced in that and it’s what keeps us going.”
Melophobix has kept it going for more than seven years, with the core six-piece lineup – Schwartz, Hansen, saxophonist Nate Hansen, keyboardist Adam Parada, drummer Scotty King and bassist Ben Steer – performing regularly at Michigan venues and music festivals where fans revel in the group’s upbeat music.
After releasing a 2016 EP and 2019 full-length album, the band recently has started dropping a series of new singles recorded at Grand Haven’s Third Coast Recording Co. with Joe Hettinga.
Melophobix showcased two of those 2022 tracks – the spritely “Better” and somewhat darker “Narcissism is Getting Us Places” – for this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE. Scroll down to listen to the tracks and the full radio show podcast.
Hansen and Schwartz said the latest material – including some upcoming fresh singles – represents a honing of the band’s songwriting and sonic philosophy.
“I think the system has evolved over time,” Hansen suggested. “We’ve gotten a little more developed in our process.”
Added Schwartz: “I think we’ve gotten more targeted with it. … The music is a constant evolution of whatever inspires us. There’s never a thought about whether or not the tunes fit what people previously conceived as a ‘Melophobix’ sound. If we like it, we do it.”
RELEASING SINGLES, CRISSCROSSING THE STATE IN SEPTEMBER
Schwartz continued: “Over the years we’ve gotten tighter, more creative and more exploratory. We do things to serve the song more often, and not the genre. We have focused more on conveying feelings and setting the tone of the music rather than just playing a song. If it’s a happy song, how do we convey that? Then, how do we make it even happier and reinforce that musical setting in auditory form. If it’s a darker, more sad vibe, how do we make people feel that just by listening? We’ve been going to more extremes in that regard.”
As for more releases, Schwartz said the band “may ride the single train as long as possible because people just don’t consume full albums as they once did,” though a full-length studio project may eventually find its way into the picture.
Melophobix also plans to build on collaborations with other artists, after working with Grand Rapids singer Sarena Rae and pals in the rock band The Legal Immigrants on new music.
“I can guarantee we will be doing more of that in the future as well,” Schwartz said. “There’s just so many people we love and adore in this music scene, that it would be a crime not to write a song and perform it together.”
Before that, Melophobix has a busy September and October ahead with performances Sept. 9 at Encore 201 in Traverse City, Sept. 16 at The Deck in Muskegon, Sept. 17 for LOPalooza in Lake Orion, Sept. 24 for the Cadillac Craft Beer Festival in Cadillac, Oct. 15 for October on Ottawa in Grand Rapids, Oct. 28 at Union Street Station in Traverse City and Oct. 29 at The Livery in Benton Harbor.
Beyond spotlighting new music from Melophobix, the Sept. 2 edition of Local Spins on WYCE – which showcases Michigan music at 11 a.m. Fridays on WYCE (88.1 FM) and online at wyce.org – featured fresh tracks from Pretoria, Cal in Red, The Legal Immigrants (this week’s musicians’ pick by Melophobix), Rick Chyme, Matt McAlpin, Super Future, Chris Canas, Nick Veine and Lucius Fox, as well as a classic Labor Day-appropriate track from Joshua Davis. Listen to the show here.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (9/2/22)
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