NESMA Band Spotlight – Interview Questions

Band Name: North Shore Troubadours

Genre: Surf, mixed with punk, ska, reggae, latin, jazz, funk, avant-garde….

Geographical Area: New Haven / Stamford CT

Interview with combination of Aaron, Sachin and Tim by email on 11/4/09



1. What is the current line-up of your band?

Aaron Garovoy - sax/keys/percussion

Timothee Goselin – guitar

Joachim Hero - bass

Sachin Ramabhadran – drums

Randall Smith - guitar


2. How and when did you get started with your band?

Craigslist! Aaron met Jo and his roommate Steve Dannemiller on Craigslist to collaborate on ideas for Steve and Jo’s ambient electronic group, Brael (www.myspace.com/brael). After a failed attempt at that, Steve decided, out of the blue, to start a surf rock group; he called Aaron, and found Sachin on Craigslist! Sachin brought his long-time friend, Tim. That was the original North Shore Troubadours who formed in the winter of 2007.

Then as randomly as he started the band, Steve moved out to California in the summer of 2008 to pursue his true dreams of being a surf legend…..at least he is one in our opinions. But without his sleek surf guitar style, NST needed a replacement. We found Randy on……. [drum roll please] ………Craigslist! Turned out he could shred on guitar, and he had a small recording area in his basement, so we kept him around!

 


3. What bands or music have influenced you most?

Laika & the Cosmonauts proved that surf songs can be epic compositions. Los Straitjackets taught us that stage presence sell tickets. 9th Wave gave us the idea to use that cool guitar wipeout sound more frequently and to find a keyboard. Dick Dale, the Shadows and the Ventures gave us some cover material to get started. Mike Patton/Mr. Bungle showed Aaron which notes NOT to play in a surf band. And a few others include Pink Floyd, King Crimson, the Cure, Radiohead, The Beatles, Angelo Badalamenti, John Zorn, Frank Zappa, etc.
 


4. What is the break down of cover vs. original material in your live shows and/or recordings?

We started out with a few cover songs to get the band playing and over time, we have developed our own style of playing them. Once in a while we break out a new non-surf cover and play it surf style, like Nirvana’s “Come as You Are.”

Recently we have been writing a lot of music to put on our new LP. We put a lot of work into perfecting our originals because as an instrumental band, we need to communicate something to the audience with notes alone.

 


5. What recording have you done?

We have a 6-song EP for sale.  Recording is under way for the next release, hopefully by early next year.  There are about 15 songs in production.
 


6. What kind of gear do you use?

Well Tim plays with -

Fender Stratocaster, Peavey Classic 50 tube amp, Ernie Ball Jr volume pedal, Boss OS-2 overdrive/distortion, ElectroHarmonix Small Clone chorus, MXR Phase 90, Danelectro Tuna Melt tremolo, Boss DD-6 digital delay, Ibanez AD-9 analog delay.

Randy plays on some crazy amp with lots of digital settings to make it sound incredibly like any kind of amp. His reverb is deceptively accurate! He also has some pretty sweet guitars to thrash on.

Aaron plays a Tenor Lyon and Healy saxophone. A seasoned woodwind repair guy thinks it was made around the 1920s, and he has never seen anything like it in his entire life!

Jo just bought a new tube amp that is very big and heavy and is a much needed improvement from the last one he had.

Sachin just bangs on whatever is nearby. If they happen to be drums, we’ll usually have a good gig.


7. What is your band’s favorite food/beverage?

It’s pretty safe to say we all like beer. PBR and High Life are the preferred cheap schwizzle. And incredibly, we all really like Indian food! But also we like Burritos, Chinese noodle bars, and falafel (and you can find the best of all these in New Haven).

 


8. How do you get gigs?

Luck, charm, sex appeal, word of mouth.
 


9. What are the difficulties you find playing your kind of music in your area?

It’s hard to get people to come out to shows if it isn’t a cover band playing “Sweet Caroline” and “Jessie’s Girl.”

Plus, it’s not always easy to describe what surf rock is -- to club owners, promoters, or strangers on the street. (Although once you mention Pulp Fiction, it becomes easier).

 

10. What positive attributes does your band have that sets you apart from other bands (of any genre)?

Our music is fun and dance-able and our performances have a lot of energy and humor, which helps us appeal to more of a mainstream pop crowd.  But our arrangements are also challenging and we all have a level of proficiency with our instruments that attracts the attention of other musicians and the more serious music fan.



11. What have you found to be the single most effective promotional tool you’ve used to further your band’s musical path?

Flyers, word of mouth, and go-go dancers. Facebook and Myspace are good, but people usually don’t show up unless you get on the phone with them and talk to them in person.


12. What’s the most interesting performance experience you’ve had?  

Our first show at Otto's Shrunken Head in NYC.  We were an unknown band taking the stage in a strange city at 1 in the morning and not only were there actually still people in the club, but the place was packed!  Sometimes it's hard to get your friends to come out and see you in CT, even when you're playing at a perfectly reasonable time like 8 or 9 pm.

And another experience to add was the Halloween Surf Nite at Two Boots a week ago. We had fog machines, strobes, a dance light, orange Christmas lights, bloody props, go-go dancers, and everyone on stage was in full zombie makeup! Bob almost got his brains eaten.


13. What do you hope to get out of being a NESMA member?

It’s really important to keep the energy and love for live music going. Being in an official group like NESMA helps bands stay motivated to keep playing! Hopefully by staying united, it can make it easier for a surf bands to survive in a market that doesn’t really know what surf music is. A larger group can spread this musical style faster and more efficiently, and we are glad to be a part of that.
 

Also we hope that NESMA can help organize some more beach party gigs like the one in Rowayton with Los Straitjackets!


14. Anything else?

Congratulations to Tim and his fiancé Jess on their new engagement! He proposed at his annual Halloween party (see the picture, he was Gene Simmons, she was Paul Stanley).