“The journey of a thousand epic guitar solos begins with a single lick.” So said someone, somewhere…probably.
Hijacked chinese proverb aside, there’s truth in this little sentiment. We all have to start somewhere. The little kid who bops along to his parents’ records would never turn into one of the future shredders or wailers of the world without that one terrifying, yet essential, first step.
Here at HEADROOM, we call it The Plunge.
Without it, bringing you the best in unsigned music from all over the world would be impossible. So we had five artists from the fast-approaching youbloomLA 2015 Music Festival tell us about their very first band. Because once you take The Plunge, there’s no turning back.
Quinn Archer (singer/songwriter): “There was a time when I had a very serious obsession with The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and it was during one of my renditions of “Touch-A-Touch-A-Touch-A-Touch Me” at school that a girl told me that she thought I had a good voice and asked if I would join her band. It was all girls. I don’t think we were too bad for a bunch of 13-year-olds (but I could be very wrong). The first song I ever sang with them for an audience was “Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles. I remember that the first moment singing in front of a room full of people was like nothing else.”
A singer with undeniable vocal power, seeming to combine elements of Adele with the dark tonality of Lana del Rey, and power production song composition; these are really well-written songs that have an air of introspection and a knack for communicating dark moods without being morbid or cheesy. As an artist, she’s already done loads, and it’s this undistracted reach to be better and better that will see her to the top. For fans of: Paloma Faith, Adele, Florence and the Machine
Jim Priest (singer, storyteller, man on a mission): “The Henchmen. We served a heady brew of spoken word and hair metal, concocted in various junk-strewn garages across suburban southern California. Perhaps the greatest band the world will never know.”
Hypnotic acoustic guitar meets wrong side of the tracks storytelling, leading us down a dark alley of spoken-word intrigue; it’s tangible, like a newspaper headline – we wonder where it all went wrong. Jagged harmonicas tear in, reminding us that we’re only listeners, but we’re involved, affected all the same. Jim Priest is not to be missed. For fans of: Tom Waits, Loudoun Wainwright III, Sage Francis
Eric Rickey (vox/songwriter, Rabid Young): “I was in high school, probably 16 or 17. My grandmother bought me a Fender Squire electric guitar and little practice amp. I learned some open chords, then I discovered power chords and started learning every Nirvana song (a rite of passage for every young guitar player). My first band happened not long after that. I don’t even remember what we called ourselves, but it was pretty terrible, and probably sounded like a shabby Nirvana, since that’s all we knew how to play. We played a few gigs in our hometown for our friends, and once we even played a gig in a parking lot, using one of my grandpa’s hay trailers for a stage. I think the singer’s dad went out and bought us a PA to use for that; we had no idea what we were doing. I can’t imagine how it sounded. The crowning moment of that gig was our drummer putting on a bear mask and walking around the crowd playing a marching snare during one of the songs. It was bizarre, but I’m sure we thought it was hilarious, or cool – it was probably neither, LOL.”
Dreamy and wistful yet energetic and soulful electro-indie made in Vegas, baby. Expect to be filled with a nostalgia for a time and place you weren’t even part of. Impressive stuff when a band can do that. For fans of: Imagine Dragons (kind of), Grouplove, eighties guy/gal duos
Rob Nakai (guitar/kick drum/vox, Quietly Kept): “My first band was a trio of middle schoolers jamming out to pop-punk. I don’t even remember the name (if we had one), but the line-up changed each time before any of the three shows we played. It was all terrible. I don’t really count it as my first band.”
It must be that independent New Mexico streak running through the music like an unidentifiable fascination that keeps you hooked. Managing somehow to blend punk stylings with introspective acoustic americana and the clear, sweet vocals of pop, the duo behind Quietly Kept aren’t about to be put into a box and labeled; instead, they’re turning heads and winning fans everywhere they go. We can’t wait to have them in LA. For fans of: Blackbird Raum, Brook Pridemore, Lynched
Carlos (drums, Feli & the LemonShakers): “Oh boy! That was far from being good. It was a high school band and we played some cheesy Spanish covers. (We had) vocals, guitar and me on the drums. We never thought a bass was necessary because we thought you could barely hear the bass in any band…haha. How wise we were! So the sound was funny but the singer was cute, and that was what mattered in a high school band!”
They sound like sunshine and cocktails, and have no shortage of musical chops, with caressing vocals, dreamy pop guitar melodies, and infectious, hip shaking rhythms. Even the empty spaces have style. One to watch. For fans of: Goodbye Chanel, Bombay Bicycle Club, Blondie