Graffiti Goes All City

Graffiti was first tagged after three of its members needed a new band. Their previous attempt, The Broken Spurs, had done pretty well in a short time. But after the singer left, the other Spurs became stuck. Now the band, whose members have also fueled Cabin, Elliott, Cougar Express and other memorable alliances, has released an EP, “Evil”. I spoke to drummer Tobias Van Kleeck.

Rock ‘n’ roll used to dominate music, but now seems to be getting lost in the shuffle. What makes it still so vital to you today?
For us, it’s a case of the first musical love cutting the deepest. We all love various music genres but there’s an energy, anarchy – and history, for that matter – to rock ‘n’ roll that’s very seductive and intoxicating. There’s a unique escapism somewhere woven into rock ‘n’ roll that appeals to all four of us; and while we make rock music for myriad reasons, the ability to lose oneself in that brand of musical ether is a key reason why we do what we do.

Graffiti_EPWhat’s your songwriting process?
Songwriting in Graffiti is incredibly collaborative. There are days when Benny (Clark) will come to practice with guitar riffs in mind or even layered, multi-instrument ideas recorded to his loop pedal. But more often than not, songs these days are born out of old-fashioned jamming including Benny singing anything over the music to establish a melody. Billy (Lease) begins noodling a bass line or I experiment with a beat or Nick (Hall) conjures something infectious on the keys or Benny creates an instant hook on guitar; anyone could be the spark that sets off that inspirational flame that ultimately leads to a new song. Everyone in Graffiti brings something valuable and special to the band’s sound. From there, it’s picking out the best moments from those recorded jams to expand upon and then refine. Also beer. Lots of beer.

How was the experience of recording, mixing and mastering this record?
Long. Much longer than expected. We booked days to record and mix at Deadbird Studios with Dave Chale and Jaime Innis over a year ago. And while things went mostly smoothly, those days weren’t nearly enough to get the job done. So that led to weeks and months of scheduling a day here and a couple days there, which led to a piecemeal recording and mixing process which, if you couldn’t guess, isn’t ideal for getting into the flow of finishing a record.

Mastering was handled by the talented and patient Brian Lueken at Decibel Mastering. Brian was super-easy to work with and was able to turn around fantastic masters quickly. All of that said, we ended up with 12 tracks that we’re proud of.

Where are your favorite places to play? Have you had a best gig or worst gig that stands out in your mind?
We have a great relationship with Hunter Embry at The New Vintage and love playing there. Zanzabar is also fun to play and Headliners is always a blast. We played a show for The New Vintage’s birthday celebration over a year ago that wasn’t necessarily bad in and of itself, but a little bit of alcohol and a lot of fog from a fog machine led to a broken guitar. So that sucked, but it made for visceral rock theatrics (laughs).

What’s next?
We’re trying to get the “Evil” EP into the hands and ears of people in Louisville and far beyond. We have another EP in the works for the fall, and shows are starting to line up for the spring and summer, including an Oaks Night rager (at Haymarket Whiskey Bar). Also beer. Lots of beer. VT