So ladies & gentlemen I present to you The Striped Bananas!
How'd you get started in music?
In my teenage years, I learned to read music and played double bass in our school orchestras. I started playing in rock and roll bands in high-school. The first group I was a member of, I solely played bass. Our guitarist, Dmitry, started to write songs and I was inspired to try my hand at the task. I was in a couple of other groups at the time that didn't go anywhere but were important for learning about band politics and what not to do.
After the band with Dmitry dissolved, I went on to form a Rock & Roll band that I played guitar and sang in. I started writing songs quite prolifically and I see that time period as when I really started to develop my craft. Around the same time, I was a bassist in a blues band and that's when I started playing with Andrew Lowden. He has been a lifelong collaborator and friend. He plays drums in the Striped Bananas.
Who are your inspirations or influences?
As an early songwriter, I truly admired three individuals - Joe Strummer (The Clash) Jack Bruce (Cream) and Chris White (The Zombies). Joe is the reason I picked up the 6 string guitar and Jack and Chris were both bassists who could write and sing.
Prior to the genesis of The Striped Bananas, I listened to a ton of psychedelic and garage rock - Moby Grape, The Seeds, Vanilla Fudge, Ant Trip Ceremony, The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Smile Era Beach Boys, The Doors, Gene Clark & the Byrds. I also listened to Indian music, such as Ravi Shankar and the Gundecha Brothers.
When I started writing more complex songs, I really grew to appreciate Gene Clark, George Harrison and Skip Spence.
As a group, The Striped Bananas moved into writing and producing our own material. Andrew is a phenomenal drum recording engineer and we rely on my ears for the final mixes and production. Tel provides a great sense of harmony and aids in vocal arrangements.
We are all inspired by different musicians and styles. In terms of inspiration from a production standpoint, I would say my biggest influences are Brian Wilson, Phil Spector, Alan Parsons & George Martin.
What advice would offer aspiring performers?
The key to longevity in the world of music is to always be genuine to yourself. You will find that you reinvent yourself at various times - whether it be a metamorphosis between albums or simply over time. Stay true to how you are feeling. Audiences will not always support or promote all your work.
However, by being genuine, you will have a body of work you can look back on and be proud of. An album we released 7 years ago (Lady Sunshine) still has people discovering it and purchasing it to this day. When we originally released it, we didn't break even on the costs.
How do you set yourselves apart from other bands or singers?
While we have a lot of vintage and retro influences, we weave modern elements into our sound. We aren't simply a tribute act to the 60s and the relevance we can offer today is important.
We have a new album coming out in June that we are quite excited about. Obviously we are unable to play shows at venues for the time being. Our music and the new album are all available on our bandcamp: www.thestripedbananas.Any new gigs or albums in the future?
Special thanks to them for doing this interview & lot of luck to them in their music so until then I'll catch you on the flipside! Stay awesome & rock n roll!
The striped Bananas - The Carnival