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The Mascot Theory live! - photo by Goeke Photography. All Rights Reserved. 2012.

The Mascot Theory

An interview with Erik Kjelland, lead vocalist and acoustic guitarist of The Mascot Theory
by Mike Huberty
February 2013

With an Americana acoustic folk-rock sound, The Mascot Theory is Madison’s answer to Ryan Adams and The Lumineers. Led by Erik Kjelland (former singer of rock outfit, Crimson Vim) and backed up by bassist Nick Fry, guitarist Adam White, and drummer Paul Metz, they released their first album, “Under The Borrowed Moon”, in 2012 and they’ve been touring regionally since. We spoke with Erik about the band, the record, and their upcoming show on March 30th.


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Carbellion

by Chris Fox
March 2013

Raunchy, heavy, and made for your rebellious intellect, Carbellion brings a new brand of hard rock to the scene. A band of five musical veterans with a guttural passion for their music, this quintet knows their crowd, knows their roots, and they’re staying true to their fiery sound.


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Circleswitch having fun in the studio

Circleswitch

An interview with Milwaukee hard rockers, CircleSwitch
by Mike Huberty
April 2013

Milwaukee is a hard rock town. Fueled for decades by album rock radio stations like Lazer 103 and 93QFM, as well as being a stomping ground for local bands who weren’t afraid of crunch like REALM, DOC HAMMER, or BAD BOY, there’s an entire generation of musicians who grew up loving whiskey-soaked party bar rock n’ roll that’s nasty and fun. CIRCLESWITCH carries on that proud tradition with Danny Rodic on guitars, Kenny James on vocals, Eddie Gunz on drums, and Johnny Wahlen on bass. We had a chance to talk to the band about their new album, Ritual, and their upcoming performance at The Blue Pig (formerly the mighty Cudahy live music mainstay, Vnuk’s Lounge.)


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Sexy Ester on the cover of Maximum Ink in April 2013 - photo by Nick Berard

Sexy Ester

An interview with Sexy Ester lead vocalist, Lyndsay Evans
by Mike Huberty
April 2013

Firmly establishing themselves in the Southern Wisconsin scene since forming in 2009, Sexy Ester is a Midwestern PoMo Blondie, mixing classic rock and New Wave into poppy melodies with synth hooks and a relentless beat. They cleaned up at last year’s Madison Area Music Awards, taking home eight trophies including Artist of the Year, Vocalist (Lyndsay Evans), and instrumentalist (Keyboardist Roscoe Evans). Their new release, “Monomania”, is came out last month. We took a few minutes to talk with Lyndsay about the new album,  .

MI: So, tell me a little bit about how you guys all met?
LE: We all knew each other in our town before we came to Madison. I’m from Gratiot, Wisconsin. A tiny town. Adam (Eder, guitarist) and Brad (Schubert on bass) are from a town right over the border in Illinois. We met while he was in a goth/electronica band in high school. We just started writing songs together for ten years after that. We moved to Madison in 2002. We did acoustic stuff together and decided to start playing out live. We originally had a harmonica player and it veered towards classic rock. We’d already been in Madison for 7 years when we started Sexy Ester. But when we added the keyboardist (Roscoe, Lyndsay’s brother) it really pushed us in a New Wave direction. A little over a year and a half ago, our original drummer left to run for office and is now a District Attorney in Northern Illinois. Our new drummer, Jenna (Joanis), well, Adam describes her as adding an element of danger

.

MI: What were the bands that you connected on?
LE: We were huge Beatles fans, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Who. It was later that we started to love the New Wave bands and we started getting compared to them a lot. Roscoe listens to the unknown bands and Ween, Brad likes Metallica. Everyone brings in different sorts of styles. We never set out to be a New Wave band, it just sort’ve happened. People started comparing us to Siouxsie, but I hadn’t really known those bands beforehand, so it really evolved without me even knowing.

MI: How did you get involved with Girls Rock Camp, and what does it mean to you?
LE: Beth Kille contacted me about GRC and asked if I’d be willing to be a coach. The first camp I coached a was a Ladies’ Rock Camp, and it was a blast! I couldn’t believe that these fearless ladies formed a band, wrote a song, and performed it in three days! It was magical for me. And GRC is that times 10. These young girls do the same thing in a week. It is so inspirational and motivational for me. I love every minute of it.

MI: In what ways has providing that instruction through GRC influenced you personally and professionally?
LE:  I’ve met a lot of amazing women and girls. We’re sort of a community. I believe this is my third year with GRC and I had no idea how many great female musicians there were in Madison before that. That networking has opened doors for all of us, I’m sure.

MI: As an instructor for GRC, what advice do you have for aspiring young musicians?
LE: Don’t give up. Be yourself. Give it your all. And put on a show. Also, we are all here and willing to give advice. Anyone can contact me with questions. I’d be happy to share my knowledge and experience.

MI: What are the themes behind “Monomania”? Is there something that really connects the release together?
LE: A lot of the songs are about uniqueness and who you are and not being afraid of that. About finding yourself. One of the songs was inspired by a drag queen that I know. I did a call on Facebook asking people to message me about something that they always wanted to do, but never did. In the choruses, I list off all the different things that people wrote me. “Silver Shoes” is the name of it.

MI: What’s the title mean?
LE: It’s about being infatuated with one thing. One of the songs on the album is “Spotlight”, and the title comes from the lyrics of the song, which was inspired by the Local Sounds web story by Rick Tvedt from when we first started playing out. It’s about someone who’s quiet and unassuming in person, but transforms into a rock star onstage. And I hear that from people all the time, that I’m shy and introverted when I meet people, but when they see me onstage it’s a different person.

MI: What are you guys looking forward to over the next year?
LE: We’re going to play the WAMIs (Wisconsin Area Music Awards) at Turner Hall on April 14th. We’re really busy right now, which is awesome, playing every weekend and trying to get out of the city more. We played Chicago, Milwaukee, La Crosse, and trying to get into The Cities. This last year after our MAMA wins, people started to pay more attention to us and doors are opening up for us more.

Catch Sexy Ester on April 7th at the High Noon Saloon in Madison and find them in May at Bratfest.

 

 


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The Moguls

An interview with Madison Pop-Punkers The Moguls
by Ryan Schremp
April 2013

Interviewing The Moguls is a bit of a challenge, and it’s not just because half of them live in Milwaukee while the other half live in Madison. However, I sat down with the Madison half—Riley Henninger and Kyle Jaco—while we Skyped-in the Milwaukee half—Patrick Talaska and Dustin Schramm—to talk a bit about their past, their present, and their future. Each of us with a 40oz bottle of a beer that rather resembled champagne, the interrogation began.

Maximum Ink: You’ve had this current lineup for about a year and a half now, tell me a bit about how you got here.
Kyle Jaco: Well, Patrick started the band with some dudes in ‘98 and they didn’t really do anything. Pat wrote a couple of songs - one of them is, “Why Won’t They Leave Me Alone?” - Then I played in a band with Dustin and Riley in High School.
Riley Henninger: Called, Everything Diet.


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Black Moth Super Rainbow

An Interview with BMSR mastermind Tom Fec
by John Noyd
April 2013

As enigmatic in email as on record, Tom Fec, who is better known as Tobacco, prefers to let his music do the talking, but what it says can be hard to interpret. His current incarnation, Black Moth Super Rainbow, confounds conventions reassembling rock, pop and dance elements into a cybernetic confection roasted over a sprawling cauldron of chain-sawed hydraulics, glistening gear-shifting petitions and barb-wired rainbows. Whether vocoder Overlords slinging Delta blues slide-guitar or disco sludge caked in apocalyptic electronics and groove-fueled subterfuge where ever Tobacco takes you, the journey there will surely astonish. In preparation for their May 12th visit to Madison’s Majestic Theater promoting last year’s mind-bending, “Cobra Juicy,” MAXIMUM INK tried to pry a few guiding principles from BMSR’s mysterious maestro.

Maximum Ink: Where do BMSR songs begin? A title, an idea, a riff, a synth setting? How do you know when it’s all done?
Tom Fec: Haha, you answered it for me - all of those things. I don’t have a set way of doing things, so something could come from any of that. Sometimes I finish the whole thing in one sitting, and sometimes I work on something on and off for years. For me, it’s finished when it’s too late to change anything (in manufacturing).

MI: From the band name to your song titles, the disparate juxtaposition of ideas implies a surrealistic attitude. Is there a BMSR manifesto outlining your outlook?
TF: I just do what I do and try not to make too much of it. I’m only trying to entertain myself most of the time.


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