Music Issue 2016: A Q&A with Sonic Graffiti

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click to enlarge Sonic Graffiti - Brian Mahar
Brian Mahar
Sonic Graffiti

MEMBERS: Chris Cardon aka Big Brew (bass), Trevor Mustoe aka Skrimp (drums), Drew Giordano aka Jah Bless brew (guitar, vocals)

Formerly joined by Drew’s twin bro Dane (currently of Miami-based Plastic Pinks), Sonic Graffiti pushes grimy, voodoo-soulful blues-punk and garage that’s a calculated explosion of guitar fuzz, reverb and screaming solos paired with heavy bass grooves and pounding rhythmic punch so ballsy and rock-out ready, when you see it live, it’s hard not to get your hair thrash and ass shake on. Their self-titled sophomore LP and follow-up to 2014’s Friendly Unit Creation Kit drops July 16 on Mobile-based indie label Alabama Astronaut, but Drew says “The songs on the album are older songs, written during hectic times and they reflect different days. Our record took longer to put out than we would have liked due to matters out of our hands… We’re starting work right now on another new record that will be out next year and reflects what we are doing creatively right now.”

Next show date: July 16 with PLEASURES, FayRoy, Soapbox Soliloquy, Nimbus Initiative, Local 662, St. Petersburg.

RIYL: Thee Oh Sees, John Spencer Blues Explosion, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Self-styled sound: “Rock n’ roll music made by the layman for the layman … but you gotta hear us live to draw your own conclusion.”

Name of your sophomore follow-up to Friendly Unit Creation Kit? Release date? “The new record is self-titled, we just finished it a few days ago, it will be available on iTunes, Bandcamp, Spotify, YouTube, and CD on July 16, the day we play our tour kickoff show at Local 662. Alabama Astronaut will be putting it out on vinyl by the end of the year.”

How Sonic Graffiti hooked up with Alabama Astronaut: “AA found us by accident on YouTube, they saw a live video of us playing at The Hub that Danny Macguire took on his cell phone. Thanks, Danny.”

Longterm goals: “We just want to play music, record and tour. Music is our way of keeping our sanity, it’s our voice. It’s just who we are. A lot of bands want fame, attention, to be popular, hashtag this, hashtag that. It’s all fake. Our band isn’t part of the rat race of trendy bands trying to get Instagram likes. We’re all gonna die, so why chase fame? What a joke. We wanna play music and play as much as possible. That’s why we always play for free. We will tour and put out records ‘til we drop dead and give as much away for free to the people as we can; because without the people, you’re nothing. If we can make minimum wage at playing music, then consider us billionaires.”

Touring plans? Any other big news? "We will be touring July, August and September all over the U.S. Our record will be coming out while we record a new one. That wraps up the year for us."

Sonic Graffiti’s favorite local artists: “Too many to name … Soapbox Soliloquy , PLEASURES, Veiny Hands, The Gun Hoes, FayRoy, Fictional Friends, Broom Closet and more I’m drawing a blank on. They just all play great music.”

Song that get the most positive feedback live? Favorite song to perform? “Aww man, I don't think we have a favorite song to play live but I do like playing new songs a lot. We don't have a setlist, ever. We just go in the moment, so usually we can pick up what the crowd wants/needs and serve it up to them pretty well...”

Favorite show you’ve played in recent memory? “The local 662 is always great, free all ages, sonic is for the kids.”

Favorite town you’ve played? Why was it so great? “On tour, we love New Orleans, Atlanta, Boston – those are some our favorites for now. There’s just great energy and lots of awesome people, Jah Bless, indeed.”

Favorite local venue/hometown venue? “The Local 662 or The Bends.”

Hardest thing about trying to make a career of music: “Life is struggle, really, so anything that’s hard work means it’s just worth it. Bring it on, world, come on, put ‘em up, put ‘em up.”

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