Posted Sep 1, 2006.
Shola Akinshemoyin - vocals, guitar
Albert Sadia - drums
Jaysson Shelnutt - bass
What is music to you?
AS: Music to me is happiness and joy. It is an expression of emotion and an outlet to share with others.
JS: Playing music is a way out of reality for me. Like a zen of some sort.
What is the best thing about music?
AS: The best thing about music is its ability to affect how you feel. Be it sad, happy, or excited, music has the power to influence a specific mood. The best thing about being in a band is being able to do something you love with others who feel the same, and to communicate through music.
What is the worst thing about music?
JS: Carrying your gear!
SA: In heels.
What do you want to see happen thru music in the future?
SA: IÃ¢Â€Â™d like to see music become a forum for social action, but I think that will come down the line for us. People like Tracy Chapman, Bono, Cat Stevens Ã¢Â€Â“ they are a big inspiration in that sense.
Does being involved in playing music make you miss out on anything?
AS: Sleep! Just kidding. I truly feel I was born to play music. No one told me about drums, I just started Ã¢Â€ÂœbangingÃ¢Â€Â on pots and pans at the age of three and havenÃ¢Â€Â™t stopped. So I donÃ¢Â€Â™tÃ¢Â€Â™ feel I have missed out on anything because of music. If anything, I have gained wonderful experiences through playing music.
What other instruments can you play?
SA: We all play a bunch of random instruments Ã¢Â€Â“ percussion, violin, flute, piano, computer...does that count as an instrument?
What were some of your favorite bands growing up?
AS: Growing up I was all about the Beatles, Kiss, Van Halen, The Police, Rush. Later on the Grateful Dead, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, the Pixies, Radiohead, Muse.
JS: I was really into Johnny Thunders, Sex Pistols, Hanoi Rocks, The Misfits, and The Stooges in my teens. The first record i bought for myself was Twisted Sister when I was 10 or 11. I think the second was Sigue Sigue Sputnik.
SA: I liked all the girl bands Ã¢Â€Â“ I just met the Indigo Girls and finally had a chance to let them hear what an influence theyÃ¢Â€Â™ve been on me as a musician. Tori Amos, Ani Difranco, Joni Mitchell, those were my heroes. Then as I discovered more aggressive music I loved Rage and Tool, on the flip side Jeff Buckley and Shudder to Think.
Did your parents like you playing music and the person you are today?
AS: My parents just wanted me to be happy. They have supported my decision and dreams 100% all my life.
JS: Yeah, my mom bought my first guitar and amp, and she still nags me when I get lazy about music.
Is there a venue or area you would like to play that you have not played before?
AS: The Middle. I have played in Boston and NY and all over LA and cannot wait to hit the heart of America. We are all looking forward to hitting the road and spreading our sound. But I do have one dream that involves screaming fans, the stars shining above, and the Hollywood Bowl.
JS: I rolled a car in front of the Hollywood Bowl one time, but I never thought of playing there really. Maybe the Greek would be fun.
Where was your best show?
AS: I would have to say our last show was the best. It was our EP Release Party at the Silverlake Lounge. The energy was great, we played really well, we introduced new stage lighting, had a great crowd, and sold a bunch of CDs. It was so rewarding because we worked really hard to make the night perfect and couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t have asked for a better result.
What religion are you and does that have an effect on your music?
JS: I don't believe in man-made religions, but I do seek guidance from a higher power of sorts, and I firmly believe that I was put on earth to play music in some way.
SA: A lot of the songs that we write (including Ã¢Â€ÂœA Story of LoveÃ¢Â€Â which is on our EP) are based on mythology, and the collective unconscious. Right now, IÃ¢Â€Â™m interested in all the religions and how they work as one. ItÃ¢Â€Â™s in stark opposition to the divided state of the world right now, and that makes it important to me.
What would you say to a kid who has no faith in himself?
SA: This is a loaded question Ã¢Â€Â“ can I talk about HERself? I think right now women are much less confident, especially as guitarists, then they could be. ThatÃ¢Â€Â™s why IÃ¢Â€Â™m glad I play all the guitar parts (including solos) in the band Ã¢Â€Â“ to show girls that they can have faith in their abilities, and to ignore all the Ã¢Â€ÂœgirlsÃ¢Â€Â™ hands are too smallÃ¢Â€Â nonsense that is fed to them.
AS: I would tell him the faith is within himself. To release it he would have to ignore the negativity that surrounds him and stay true to what he believes. The way to slowly build self-confidence and faith is not to concern himself with what others think and follow what he truly believes in.
Who do you one day want to play a show with the most?
JS: Shesus if they get back together, or Tomahawk.
SA: Trent Reznor. IÃ¢Â€Â™m convinced heÃ¢Â€Â™ll fall in love with me.
Why do you play music, what makes you strive to be heard?
AS: I play music because I was born to. It is very simple. Because I love music so much and love playing it, I want to share it with others. Evoking emotion through our music is definitely a goal.
JS: When IÃ¢Â€Â™m onstage and playing I feel like itÃ¢Â€Â™s the only time in my life when I experience inner peace and some kind of tranquility. I believe that when you find your "thing" in life you get that peace of mind.
Why would anyone want to hear your music and what you are saying thru it?
SA: As technology grows, peopleÃ¢Â€Â™s interactions get more and more impersonal. The themes behind our music deal with a collective memory, a collective mind. More than just being emotional, itÃ¢Â€Â™s about the deepest kind of connectedness people can have Ã¢Â€Â“ I think society needs that right now.
Any interesting stories?
SA: Our interesting stories are in our songs Ã¢Â€Â“ right now, weÃ¢Â€Â™re working on a concept record about a Grecian muse who falls in love with a forgotten Nigerian god. HeÃ¢Â€Â™s basically tricking her, so that sheÃ¢Â€Â™ll inspire people to worship him again. The last song on our EP will probably be the first song on our next record, since it introduces the story.
How old were each of you when starting to play instruments?
SA: 7 or 8, but man, I really sucked.
What kind of respect or disrespect do you guys get?
SA: I love the respect I get for my guitar gear. People are never expecting a girl to be such a gear STICK. My pedalboard is a beast. I love when other guitarists come up and nerd out about it with me Ã¢Â€Â“ thereÃ¢Â€Â™s a mutual respect.
Your latest cd, what do you guys think about it and what did your fans say about it?
SA: The Alchemy EP - itÃ¢Â€Â™s a masterpiece. I think it ranks up there with the White Album and Grace. Well, thatÃ¢Â€Â™s what my mom says anyway.