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Ultrea

Ultrea

Relentlessly Rocking and Forever Ascending
by Sal Serio
June 2015

It’s an exciting time for the Madison-based rock band Ultrea. June 2015 marks the E.P. release of new music titled “Forever Ascending” as well as a video for the song “Through The Ashes”. The world premiere of the new E.P. was broadcast June 2 on maxinkradio.com as a part of The Jimmy K Show, and the release party will be Sat. June 20 at The Red Zone (Annex) with Minneapolis band Gabriel And The Apocalypse, Genotype, Growing, and more. Ultrea also is performing at some large Midwest festival dates. The band, or “family” as they say, is comprised of Jennifer Lecesse-vocals, Jason Wepking-bass, Kyle Rattner and Greg Dellmann-guitars, and Bryan Lawver-drums.


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Morgan Rae - photo by Cocao Malamiravicht

Devil To Drag

An interview with singer Morgan Rae
by Teri Barr
May 2015

Sometimes, starting in reverse, can throw you into full forward.
It’s what the members of Devil to Drag may be learning right now. This Madison-based group began simply—as an acoustic duo—but expanded to a trio, and eventually a full power alt rock band. And though Devil to Drag is still young on the scene at less than a year together, the musicians involved bring experience, and an aggressive attitude for forging ahead. I recently talked with lead singer and guitar player Morgan Rae for Maximum Ink, just as the band gets ready to release a new video and album on May 15th: 


Maximum Ink:  Introduce us to your band, and why it’s pretty unique in the way you got together?
Morgan Rae:  Cocoa Malamiravict plays guitar and sings with me. It’s actually how Devil to Drag got its start. The two of us played and wrote together acoustically. It was his idea to then add Wade Coisman from Real Knives on bass. They’d played together in Underground Day 1 too, and have always worked together really well. It’s almost creepy sometimes to watch them communicate in rehearsal, because a lot of it is done through looks and vocal cues that aren’t actually words, but they still somehow understand each other.
Kai Anderson, also from Real Knives, was the last member to join, but in my opinion is the most influential addition when it comes to creating the sound we have today. We had asked him to play with us for a bigger show, then realized none of us wanted to go back to the more stripped down sound.
I feel really honored to be able to write and play with these three, and aside from all their musical talents, they each bring something different and important to the table, which I think is really going to set us up for success. Cocoa knows everyone and his brother, because he travels the country building greenhouses. He gets us a lot of great opportunities like playing Steelbridge Song Festival in Sturgeon Bay. Wade works at a print shop, so he knows all the ins and outs of navigating merchandise. And Kai not only works at WJJO Radio as a D.J., but also teaches at Madison Music Foundry, so he really helps make sure our practices to run smoothly when we’re tightening up material. Oh, and I have a full-time job too, at Peak Performance Massage.

MI:  Alot going on between the four of you! Where do you find your energy, and even your spirit for working on the new music?


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The Fine Constant from Madison, Wisconsin - photo by Chris Lotten

The Fine Constant

An Interview with Sarah Longfield
by Teri Barr
April 2015

What would individual artists—influenced by jazz, EDM, and a little mix of metal—sound like playing together as a group? No reason to wonder, as this band already exists. The Fine Constant has been making its unique style of music for less than a year, and is set to embark on a several month cross country tour in support of a new, original album being officially released at its Madison show on April 9th. But who is this group, and why is the leader a bit of a beautiful surprise? Sarah Longfield recently took time out of her busy, getting-ready-for the-road preparations, to answer these questions and more, for Maximum Ink: 

Maximum Ink:  Your technique on guitar is pretty incredible. It’s unique, and really difficult. How long have you been playing?
Sarah Longfield:  I’ve been playing guitar for about 10 years now. I started off playing piano when I was about 8 and have taken up various instruments since then, but guitar is what comes most naturally!
As for my playing, I don’t know much about theory or proper technique, but I like to think having to work around that is what has helped me to develop my own style.

MI:  Who’s in the band, and with your different interests in music, how’d you get together?
SL:  My two band mates are Steve Meyer on drums, and Steve-O Wilkes on guitar. Steve has been playing drums for 18 years and Steve-O has been playing guitar for 14 years. We ended up together because Steve was seeking a guitar player for a jazz band while I was looking for a band to play the solo material I had written and recorded in my basement. After jamming a couple of times, it all sort of fell into place. Steve-O then came into the picture a short time later, after our original guitar player left the band.


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Madison's Dogs of War on the cover of Maximum Ink for March 2015

Dogs of War

by Teri Barr
March 2015

Imagine a band, and all five of its members bringing different skills, styles, and goals to the project. It would sound like a fusion of hip-hop, rap, metal, rock, and blues. And its name would be—Dogs of War. This Madison-based group is a year in the making, but the individuals have been part of the scene with various well-known acts. Yet, Dogs of War is the one already being called cool, unique, bridging divides, and destined for something bigger. One of its founders, Dexter “Tefman” Patterson, took time to answer a few of my questions, including why it can be good to flaunt your differences, and how the band’s efforts can’t be defined.

Maximum Ink: This new project brings together some broad talents. Can you tell us more about Dogs of War?
Dexter “Tefman” Patterson:
Well, w’s so great about the Dogs of War is the diversity in our musical backgrounds.Vincent “Samhain Bane” Spruill and I are the two emcees for the band. We are also the co-founders of the award-winning veteran hip-hop group The L.O.S.T S.O.U.L.S. There’s also Anthony Salas on Guitar/Lead Vocals, David Payne on drums, and Dustin “D” Harmon on bass. They are incredibly skilled and bring rock, punk, heavy metal, and more as their influences.


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La Bomba Waters and Les Cougars - photo by Chad Sutherland - Rise Up Lights

Les Cougars

La Bomba from Les Cougars
by Teri Barr
February 2015

The Valentine invite intrigued me. Live musicians, comedy, dancing, burlesque—an all in one, all-woman show (unless you count Cupid, a young man wearing a diaper, as the only contributing factor to the male side of the cast). But once the lights went down on a packed house at the Cardinal Bar in Madison, a full complement of creative energy was on display, and did not disappoint. Tulin Waters takes her opportunity to entertain very seriously. Her group is known as Les Cougars, and her on-stage persona, “La Bomba,” is brash, but brilliant. Yet her whole goal of this good time revolves around supporting other entertaining women of a certain age—- meaning, not your 20-somethings. There were shapes, colors, styles of all types showing off their talents. And if it left the performers feeling good, it also left almost everyone in the audience with a certain kinship, and sense of power. As Les Cougars prepares for another show, they’ll be part of the CD Release Party for Meghan Rose at the Inferno on February 13th at 9 pm, Tulin took time to talk with me about the importance of making a difference, and how she’s finding the stage a perfect place to do it.

Maximum Ink: You are funny, but in a real, relatable sense. Your show includes humor, but still revolves around music, why?
Tulin Waters: I am a music scout, not a musician, which allows me to create a different type of show. My ear for talent came from living in 6 different countries growing up. It gave me a sense of respect and admiration for all types of music. The more you learn about other music from around the world, the more you grasp who has a real passion and understanding of it.

MI: Music is mixed with the unexpected for your group, Les Cougars. Why did you focus on this approach for a show?
TW: I started Les Cougars because this town is full of talented women over the age of 35. In the entertainment business, “maturing” women face ageism and get overlooked unfairly way too often. To me this is a travesty because talent only gets better with experience, and it is at this age when women are in their prime and absolute best up on stage. We should be glorified for what we have accomplished, not replaced, and I am proud to bring to the table a show where there are so many diverse and talented women coming together to preach age empowerment.


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Lucas Cates

An Interview with Lucas Cates
by Teri Barr
January 2015

Add up the miles. 2000+ to the west coast, another 1100 to the Gulf Shore, and then multiply it by at least a dozen times. Lucas Cates, founder of Madison-based The Lucas Cates Band, has been on the road from one end of the country to the other, and almost non-stop since 2006. But recent change to the long-time lineup is giving Cates time to re-group and re-charge. As one of the few full-time, DIY working bands, he’s also now pursuing other interests. Yet Cates still has an eye on the music scene. He’s pulled together a new group, which will open a big show at High Noon Saloon January 22, and plans to include a sampling of songs from their new album, expected out in February. I asked him about his past, his future, and what he’s learned along the way.


Maximum Ink: Has music always been your focus?
Lucas Cates:
I have a musical background but one I never took seriously until college. I played french horn and trumpet in high school, then dabbled at drums and piano but wasn’t great at either, so I finally learned guitar when I was 20. It was the first time in my life I felt like I had a natural ability to do something. I have always been drawn to acoustic guitar, and much of the music I was brought up on featured it. I think we are influenced by our environments and music has always been part of mine.

MI: And you have a new version of The Lucas Cates Band (TLCB)?
LC:
Yes! New additions to the band are Cody Davis on bass, and Travis Drumm on drums. Both are extremely talented and humble players. Over the last few months of playing together we have become a cohesive unit and great friends. I think our new album, “Back to the Cocoon”, really captures that. We also have some great guest musicians on it: Kenny Leiser (Mighty Wheelhouse, former TLCB band mate), Darren Marabelli (Katie Scullin Band) put down some electric guitar parts; Andrew Traverse (The Mustache) played some killer trumpet; Jesse Warmka (also a former TLCB band mate) contributed backing vocals.


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Joey Broyles - photo by Adeline Peck

Joey Broyles

Singer-Songwriter Joey Broyles leads a Future Pop Revolution
by John Noyd
December 2014

Raised in Sun Prairie, Madison musician Joey Broyles distinctly remembers playing all the parts of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves for his family as a young child. A born entertainer, Broyles also remembers making up songs all his life without ever thinking he could actually write a song. In fact, it wasn’t until a few years ago that his artistic vision took root and he applied his skills as a self-taught pianist and young Garageband dabbler to create a stage persona and musical identity. Inspired by a performance from local scensters Sexy Ester and mentored by the sure-handed production skills of multi-instrumentalist Son Voyager, Broyles soon caught the attention of the Madison musical community, eventually going on to win RAW Madison Musician of the Year 2013, MAMA Breakthrough Artist 2014 as well as a recent semi-finalist in 105.5 Triple M’s Project M Songwriting competition before completing this fall his full-length debut, “Future Pop Revolution.”

A realist with vision, a futurist shaped by a difficult past, Broyles pairs an extravagant imagination with a crusader’s sense of integrity; a renegade individualist who collaborates with a large network of artists and performers. As a founding member of arts collective and on-line publication Project Famous, the whirlwind entrepreneur enlists film-makers, costume designers and visual artists to help manifest his ideas whether it’s a video shoot, album artwork or a club date. As a performance artist, image and presentation are integral to Broyles’ message which he insists gets communicated with substance and pizzazz. Citing the ADD generation filling the clubs, Joey knows people want to be entertained but he also wants to provide more; specifically a role model for acceptance, championing the LGBT community and putting ideas back into pop music.

Drawing from his experiences being bullied as a young teen and time spent in the Foster care system, Broyles is well equip to confront social injustice and societal pressures. His rainbow-strewn storm-trooper debut tackles mindless music, gender expectations, corporate hypocrisy and rampant consumerism; often assuming the identity of his targets to uproot their weakness and duplicity. Popping Big Brother’s bubble with a court-jester cackle wrapped in royal trappings, “Future Pop Revolution,” styles alien grooves in a satin pageantry, heralded by a flourish of synths, bold beats and rock-hard guitar. Unconcealed and extra-real, Joey tickles fancies as he liberates fallacies, slyly dividing sarcastic travesties by undermining labels and breaking free of preconceived notions.

A dystopian perfectionist whose subversive mirth and unlocked mockery carry a message of self-expression to everyone everywhere, Joey confronts modern reality with defiant flair; shining, not hiding, demanding to be heard through lush synthetic power chords and swooning cut-throat harmonies. After the success of, “Future Pop Revolution,” Broyles is even keener to maintain his domain, absorbing new music software with an almost Zen-like appetite and digging into his childhood influences of TLC and Salt-N-Pepa to supplement his freshman Prince and Madonna obsessions while mining the past year spent immersed in a gossip-fraught bureaucracy for new song ideas. A pervasive presence on the web, it is as a live performer where Broyles fulfills his potential, combining music, theater and dance into a fiery mirrorball of provocative thought. Watch out world, this quick-witted misfit has just started to spread his wings. Catch him December 13th at Madison’s Inferno.


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SHESHE

by Teri Barr
November 2014

SHESHE is one hard-working band, and quickly becoming popular due to the unique talents the three women-members bring to the group. Julia McConahay plays fiddle and sings, Dana Perry is on guitar and vocals, and Shannon Callaway covers the drums and also sings. They all have different styles and musical interests, and it’s what is getting SHESHE attention from around the Midwest. I recently had the chance to talk with them about the upcoming release of their first album together, and how they are already planning for the future: 

Maximum Ink: What is making SHESHE, and the band’s new music, work for you?
Julia McConahay:
Music is what makes sense to me. I’ve never known life without it, so it’s never really been a choice, more like a way of being. It’s how I’m identified most of the time. People have always asked me to come jam with them, or sit in for a set, record on their album, or join their tour. It’s an honor and a joy, all at the same time.
Dana Perry: I really can’t see myself doing anything else with my life other than making music. I love how SHESHE has come together to make such bitchin’ noises together! I’m proud of the gigs and festivals we’ve played (Steel Bridge Song Festival, Ragged Roots Festival, Atwood Fest, the Bubble Festival, to name a few), and I’m proud of how we consistently have fun, but especially proud of us for working together to get this album out.
Shannon Callaway: I feel as though music has been my back bone through everything. It’s more than a purpose, it’s just there. I pretty much consider my stylings to be hand in hand with my emotions. If I’m pissed off, I’ll drop that E string down and rage. If I feel light as a feather and have a smile on my face, I’ll tap dance on my drumset.

MI: How did SHESHE get started?
JM:
I started SHESHE as an acoustic duo with Leah Brooke Conway (now of Elk’s Teeth and Rabbit’s Feet) whom I love dearly! After a few months, Dana Perry and Amada Marquez (Inferno Nightclub) caught the SHESHE fever and we grew into a four-piece band. Life happened and both Leah and Amada moved out of town, so Dana and I pressed on with our bad selves as a duo. Soon after, we saw a little glimmer from behind a closet door and we learned her name was Shannon Callaway! She’d been writing music with Meghan Rose and was interested in developing her drumming skills, so we busted that door open and ka-pow! The SHESHE three-piece was born.


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White Empress cover art by Ian Chalgren

White Empress

An Interview with Paul Allender and Mary Zimmer
by Chris Fox
October 2014

If you’ve heard of CRADLE OF FILTH, COAL CHAMBER, or LUNA MORTIS, you’re already familiar with what the emerging WHITE EMPRESS brings to the table. With the guitar techniques of Paul Allender (formerly of CRADLE OF FILTH), this new six-piece brings some Madison-local flavor with vocals from Mary Zimmer (formerly of LUNA MORTIS) and fellow Madisonian on guitar, Jeremy Kohnmann (Ash Aria).

Allender proclaims that the band is truly one-of-a-kind, as they combine a menagerie of backgrounds and talents. “It sounds like WHITE EMPRESS. It doesn’t sound like anything else,” he explains. Allender says the formation of the band came after CRADLE OF FILTH took a bit of a hiatus. “The whole plan was to take off a couple of years and then come back full station, but that didn’t happen. Basically, that’s when I sort of turned White Empress into not just a project but a full-time band.”

Zimmer says that the band is truly a combination of several ideas melding into a unique sound. “Everybody contributed and wrote their own parts. Paul did the arranging and wrote the core of the music - it was almost done by the time I got it,” she explains. “But I got to write my own vocal parts, which was different for me, and he let me have the freedom to do what I wanted.”


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Meghan Rose and I Saw The Creature on the cover of Max Ink September 2014

I Saw The Creature

An Interview with Meghan Rose
by Teri Barr
September 2014

One woman. Five regular music projects.
Meghan Rose may be one of the busiest artists on the Madison scene right now, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Meghan writes, sings, plays, records, edits, and teaches all styles of music; and those talents are highlighted in her various bands. I had the chance to ask her how she keeps it all going, and learned which group is getting ready to hit the road soon. 

Maximum Ink: Do you remember when you started your musical journey?
Meghan Rose: My mom taught me piano when I was 4, and then I started classical lessons when I was 5. First thing I remember learning to play was “Beauty and the Beast”, of all things. My dad bought me a nylon string classical guitar from an antique shop when I was 14 and I taught myself some chords then learned the church songs for bible day camp, which was one of my summer jobs. I played piano for the early church service for years. I still love hymns and I use some of the ideas to write about God in my lyrics, though I certainly don’t write what anyone would call Christian music. But once that type of music is in you, you can’t shake it. My mom also had tapes of musicals, and Broadway is still an obsession for me. I was 8 when my parents divorced, and one of the coping methods I developed was to steal my dad’s C.D.‘s. He collected the newest “alternative” music—a lot of female-fronted 90’s stuff. Bjork, Sheryl Crow, Sleater-Kinney, Liz Phair, Fiona Apple. Fiona and Liz were really powerful to me.

MI: Your current projects are all led by women; some bands don’t like the reference to women or men in the band, but would rather just be called musicians, in a general sense. What about you?


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