Elijah Kraatz: Yes, I would say reggae is big in Vermont. Although we do play a lot of reggae, we mix it up with many other styles of music. I like to think we are making a new sound by blending many traditions.,The Berkeley Beacon (via e-mail): Is there a large reggae following
Elijah Kraatz: Yes, I would say reggae is big in Vermont. Although we do play a lot of reggae, we mix it up with many other styles of music. I like to think we are making a new sound by blending many traditions. We also play more traditional grooves in part to show respect for the roots.
BB: Which experience gives you the most satisfaction-recording or performing live?
EK: Performing live is definitely the adrenaline high. Nothing beats a great show. Recording is more of an intellectual high. During the mixing process I start to hear in three dimensions. On our newest release, "Breathe" I heard a cow mooing in the background. The engineer [Roger Stauss] and our guitar player [Rudy Dauth] both thought I was nuts. We isolated tracks and there it was on some vocal track. They have cows in a field behind the studio. It is rewarding to get the sounds and flow you are looking for, but an exhausting process without the adrenaline buzz.
BB: Where do you find the inspiration for your lyrics?
EK: Well on the lighter side, it is mostly life experiences mixed with a little imagination.
When it comes to the environmental and political state of our world, there is far too much inspiration. I would rather not sing about these things, but we are in a crisis here. It weighs heavy on my heart. Spreading awareness is a big part of the reason I write these lyrics. Frustration is the other half of why I write these songs. I love this beautiful earth we are a part of. We are not treating it right and therefore we come to suffer mentally and physically. Many politicians and corporations do not seem to care what sort of life we leave for future generations, or what injustices we commit for the almighty dollar.
We could have such a better quality of life if we would choose a just and harmonious way of living. Why is that so hard? It should be common sense right? People who speak this way are often branded hippies, radicals, liberals, et cetera, and blown off. That is more than frustrating it is madness!
BB: How do you create some of the celestial sounds on the disc?
EK: Our keyboard player [Andric Severance] has some wild effects on his keyboard. Some he created himself. Our guitar player has some cool effects pedals. We're talking top secret blends here! Haha. I have always been a big fan of dub music, so in the mixdown process I made sure we added some nice delay effects onto the vocals and instruments.
BB: Can you explain your band's mission-"to elevate your mind and shake your behind"-in a bit more detail?
EK: Yes, it is a bigger statement than I had originally thought. At first it was kind of a lighthearted-humor-based thing. Some of these songs really get people thinking in ways they had not before. People get stirred up-generally in a positive way. I think it is safe to call that elevating the mind. The shake-your-behind part comes from the fact that we play some serious butt-shaking grooves. Now, our live show is really where it is at. Getting your groove on with a live band is a million times better than a recording in my book. You put these things together and what you end up with is "soul elevation." That is what we are really going for.
BB: What is the band's ultimate goal?
EK: To keep growing, evolving. To speak the truth and have it be heard. To make beautiful music for y'all! A world tour would be good. We definitely want to take this music everywhere we can.