Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Magic Shop - Interview - Energizing the Local

Magic Shop played last nite at City Fest, despite the bothersome drizzle from the sky - no shows set at the moment - but they are working on a record. Here's an interview, with singer/guitarist Steve Nawara - concerning the vitality of local markets:

Stephen Nawara is energized after working outside all day in 90 degree heat. “I just wanna play as much as I can,” said the 30-something guitarist known for his stint with the Detroit Cobras, Wildbunch, Rocket 455 and others, also heading online label, Beehive. “Cheesy as that may sound, the more music in my life the better.”

After playing in other people’s bands (as “a hired gun”) for so long, often unable to present material, Nawara, “a songwriter first and foremost,” said it feels great to “sit there and say, ‘Hey guys, I’ve got this…and then the guys are more than welcome to do the same…” The “guys” include bassist Jake Culkowski, drummer Dave Vaughn and Nawara’s longtime friend, guitarist Marc Craven (with whom the idea for a new band started, back in the early 00’s). Finally, Magic Shop saw the light of day (or, night?) last March – and is currently finishing up their full length debut album.

“We’re just trying to find our sound,” said Nawara, as the band self-records in Craven’s home. That sound being shunting, stomping rhythms, curvy twangy guitar riffs, jangly strums and bluesy bass – a humble slam of country, bubble-gum pop, punk energy and a sprinkling of psychedelia.

“There’s two ways of going about music. You get this idea and you become a perfectionist and drive yourself insane in the studio. But other times you get together the right musicians, the right ingredients or right instruments, you take a path and just work with what you have. I think that’s what we’re doing, letting it grow naturally.”

The band holds roots music dear. But, Nawara lackadaisically worries that the newer stuff is getting “a little folky, a little more country,” and said they’d also like to balance that with some “raw power, rockers” and “psychedelic bluesy jams.” But, “…maybe it’s just the summertime and everyone’s getting lovey-dovey; the new stuff is becoming a little more pretty, a little more country, little more folky.” The band is enjoying finding, together, a way to string it together. The first batch of songs were mostly by Nawara’s pen, but Craven and recently Culkowski are stepping up to the plate. Perhaps a reaction against past roles of relegation, Nawara said, “I want everyone to be contributing. I want everyone to be singing, I want everyone to be doing everything they possibly could.”

The band is preparing to tour the nation and hopefully beyond to other nations. But, Nawara stresses that they want to do a lot of state-based (Michigan) touring, in attempt to set up a stronger local support system. Today, in the face of the internet’s wild-west chaos, when all labels can really do for a band is provide a publicist, the bands need that local springboard more than ever. A localized market. Nawara references The Kingsmen, with their hit, “Louie-Louie.” “They would have never made it out of Pennsylvania if it wasn’t for the system in place back then. You could go to the studio, record your song, bring it to the DJ, the DJ could play it, the neighborhood could tune to it, make it a citywide hit, then a statewide hit, national hit, then international hit. So, the more bands play in Michigan, tour Michigan, the better it’ll be for all musicians, you need a local market.”

The band hopes to release their debut by the end of summer. They are shopping some labels – but if nothing else, keep your mouse clicked near the Beehive Web site for a possible digital release.

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