This week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE spotlighted a Grand Rapids ensemble with a fresh, lively and eclectic musical attack, plus new tracks from Tail from the Crypt, Ashley McGrath, Beach Thief, Afro Zuma and Brother Adams & Emma Loo. (Story, podcast, video)
THE BAND: Melophobix
THE MUSIC: A melting pot of rock, funk, reggae and more
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THE BAND: 8 p.m. Wednesday at SpeakEZ Lounge in Grand Rapids
Melophobix takes what it calls a “cage-free” approach to its music.
Sure, there’s a foundation of rock, funk and reggae fused into the Grand Rapids band’s seven-piece attack, but it’s really an unfettered songwriting process at work – something that produces a “melting pot” of sounds and genres.
“We kind of throw whatever we can at the canvass and see what we like, see what we don’t like, mix things around, keep it fresh,” suggests guitarist and singer Stefan Schwartz, noting that members of Melophobix come from such varied backgrounds that the band’s music emanates from “a thousand different directions at 1,700 different speeds.”
“It kind of lets us just be free with it,” adds guitarist and singer Zack Volkers. “It takes away any expectations from a listeners’ perspective where you can come to a show and not know what you’re going to get on any given night.”
It’s that sort of attitude that’s generated a buoyant buzz about Melophobix in West Michigan’s music scene over the past 15 months, due in great part to the band’s soulful, lively, horn-imbued songs.
Of course, unlike most bands, Melophobix found a bright spotlight and huge audience for its very first live performance – opening for national act Badfish: A Tribute to Sublime in front of about 1,400 people at The Intersection.
“It kind of started things off on a really high note and we’ve been trucking ever since,” concedes Schwartz.
After releasing a debut EP recorded at Ben Zito’s Centennial Sound in 2016, the band – Volkers, Schwartz, trumpeter Geoff Hansen, saxophonist Nate Hansen, bassist Matt McElliott, keyboard player Adam Parada and drummer Matt Perlman – is now at work on a full-length album they hope to release later this year.
Five members of the band visited the studios of WYCE-FM for Local Spins on WYCE this week to perform an acoustic-based rendition of a new song, “Damn Solutions,” as well as a pared-back version of “Whenever You Want” from their 2016 EP. Watch a video here, with the full radio podcast below. (Listen to more Melophobix here.)
VIDEO: Melophobix, “Whenever You Want” (Local Spins on WYCE)
The band performs Wednesday at SpeakEZ Lounge in Grand Rapids as part of the Local Spins Wednesdays series, followed by March and April shows in Mount Pleasant, Kalamazoo and Chicago.
With individual band members’ musical roots ranging from punk to neo-soul to jam bands – and with its unusual blend of instruments and uber-energetic stage presence – Melophobix can’t help but stand out from the pack.
“We try and stay fresh,” Schwartz says of the band that was formed from musicians who met at open-mic nights in Grand Rapids. “It’s always a struggle to write something as a musician that hasn’t been written before. A lot of what we do in our process is we critique (our music) quite heavily.”
For Geoff Hansen, who along with his brother comes from a classical background, “finding something different has been really refreshing and has allowed us to really expand our musical repertoire and our vocabulary.”
Most important, as the band puts it, “We just love what we do.”
This week’s Local Spins on WYCE podcast also boasted the debut of tracks by Ashley McGrath, Tail from the Crypt and Beach Thief, plus music from Brother Adams & Emma Loo, Afro Zuma, Public Access and the River Rogues Jazz Band. Listen to the full podcast here.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (Feb. 17, 2017)
Miss last week’s episode of Local Spins on WYCE? Sign up for podcasts at iTunes so you never miss one again, and click here for the Feb. 10 edition featuring Joe Shields.
Copyright 2017, Spins on Music LLC