Interview and Live Photos by Scott Preston
Shoot Out The Lights at the Heights Music Festival
Rohs St Cafe, 245 W McMillan St, Cincinnati, OH, 45219
Music starts at 7pm with Shoot Out The Lights performing at 9pm
Shoot Out the Lights is everything the band’s name suggests and much more. Armed with loads of enthusiasm and never forgetting to Roll along with the Rock, the influences and efforts of this Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky based quintet are apparent on their debut self titled album. The band’s songs range from heartfelt love songs to more up-front sexual notions, and get-after-it rock n’ roll party songs. With the help of producer Mike Tekulve, the band created nine highly polished jewels and released the LP in March 2011. The band is working hard to gain regional recognition and performances include songs from the new album, a mix of other new and old originals, and occasional select cover songs. Live, the vocal blending and wholehearted performances of Josh and Elaina is something music fans need to experience.
Cincy Groove: How did Shoot Out The Lights first get together?
Mook: Alan Topolski and I (drummer and bass player) were introduced to Mudd and Howard by our friend Jim Funk three years ago. Alan and I had been playing with Jim Funk for about 2 years. We were all looking to do something new at that point. Alan and I thought the songs that Mudd and Howard were working on were really good songs. So we have been together ever since. As a result Alan and I have become a much better rhythm section. Did you know that the bass and drums are supposed to go together? Crazy.
Maybe a few months go by after we initially met. We started looking into recording an album of songs. We met recording engineer/producer Mike Tekulve. We did some rehearsals with him. They went okay. Then our good friend Bruce Ralston introduced us to his co worker, high school teacher and band director, Elaina Brown. She came and saw us at Southgate House. She rehearsed with us playing keys and singing. It all seemed to come together. She came to the studio with us and that was that. We changed the name of the band from 40 East to Shoot Out the Lights after the addition of Laney.
Mudd: Well they run the gamut from everything to big band to classic country and indie rock to bluegrass. I’m also influences by films and just everyday life. The politics of love if you will.
Joshua: That’s always a funny question because I don’t know any musician that wasn’t influenced by The Beatles and I don’t hang out with many people who don’t know who Gram Parsons was. But like Mudd said, we take that and mix it with the various art and cultural mediums and interpret our feelings about them all in our music. I have poems from high school that were influenced by Fellini films that I’ll never show to anyone, but I’d be remise if I said those kinds of things didn’t shape my interest in what I’m doing now. Alan’s always quick with a Mitch Hedberg quote or some corny one-liner that makes us all laugh and I think even that influences our time together and how we create our music together.
Cincy Groove: What would a dream show be for Shoot Out The Lights?
Mook: I love any show with great energy. Nothing worse than playing for an empty room. Every band has done it. Now I know it is a cliche, but a great audience makes for a great show. Playing large venues with larger audiences is a dream. With some hard work we will get there.
Mudd: Well we’re thankful anytime we can play in front of a hungry crowd looking for something new. Obviously something like Bonnaroo or playing with a band like Wilco or My Morning Jacket would be an amazing experience.
Cincy Groove: How do you feel about how the internet has changed the music industry?
Mook: Use it or don’t. Books have been written on this topic. The overall access to music and free music is the biggest change. The internet and electronic media are going to keep pushing forward. Might as well enjoy what is out there. Being able to listen to every little genre without leaving your desk is a great thing. It is also fun to go buy some records at Shake It too though.
Cincy Groove: Do you think Kickstarter is a good way for bands to fund their albums?
Mudd: I do. Anytime we can create a community through tools like Kickstarter it’s a good thing. Giving artists and fans the ability to work together and create and feel a part of something is a good thing. It certainly makes for more of a symbiotic relationship all around.
Cincy Groove: Did you enjoy filming your music video “Stay Beautiful”? What was the process like?
Joshua: That was a first for all of us so we had no idea what to expect. When we showed up, the director Bobby Gayol had arranged for a crane, a bunch of lights and super awesome camera equipment. We were a bit taken back, but then again, how often do you just get to have a rehearsal in Memorial Hall and have folks filming it? It was pretty cool and definitely a memorable experience for us.
Cincy Groove: Are there plans for a 2nd album?
Mook: We are in pre-production for the second album as this is being written. We are all anxious to start actually recording. But we won’t jump the gun. After the first album we know better how to prepare and make the most of the studio. Recording will begin soon. We have been inviting some friends and respected musicians over to help with the pre-production. It has been fun to interact with them and ourselves in this process. Although we are all friends and have known each other for years, I constantly feel that I get to know the band better every week.
Cincy Groove: What has been some highlights for the band?
Mudd: We’ve played with some fantastic bands and made some lifelong friends during our time together. Obviously playing the late great Southgate House is a thrill for any local. Those guys really embraced us and helped us a lot. I also think we’ve become better friends and musicians during our time together which is a wonderful thing.
Cincy Groove: Are there any upcoming gigs you are excited about?
Joshua: I think we’re excited to play every time we play. This past gig at Bogart’s was a great experience and makes you really wanna keep pushin’ for more. We have a few festivals lined up like The Heights Music Festival this weekend and The Duck Creek Log Jam in Logan, Oh over Memorial Weekend. And we already have gigs planned for the fall after the new cd drops, including Zoo Brew in October. I’m looking forward to an awesome summer and great year with this band.
Shoot Out The Lights is:
Elaina Brown – Vocals, Keys
Josh Muddiman – Vocals, Guitar
Alan Topolski – Drums, Percussion
Joshua Howard – Guitar, Vocals
Matt McCormick – Bass
4/6/2012 Friday Rohs St Cafe, 245 W McMillan St, Cincinnati, OH, 45219, Heights Music Festival, 9pm
4/20/2012 Friday The Avenue Lounge & Patio, 411 Madison Ave, Covington, KY, 41011, 8pm, With Javier Mendoza
5/2/2012 Wed FB’s, 126 W 6th St, Cincinnati, OH, 45202, 8pm
5/11/2012 Friday Hal & Al’s, 1297 Parsons Ave, Columbus, OH, 43206, 8pm
5/26/2012 Saturday Duck Creek Log Jam, Duck Creek Camping and Outdoor Events Area, Logan, OH, 43138
7/28/2012 Saturday Greater Anderson Days Festival, Beach Acre Park Amplitheatre, Anderson Township, OH
10/4/2012 Thursday Zoo Brew, Cincinnati Zoo, Cincinnati, OH – http://cincinnatizoo.org/events/zoo-brew/
10/27/2012 Saturday Plain Folk Cafe, 10177 Ohio 132, Pleasant Plain, OH, 45162, 8pm