Somojo Magazine

Stiletto Ghetto

We have one EP that we just released called “First Takes”

Would you mind introducing us to your band members?
Louis: I’m on drums, Nicolas is on guitars, Safiya on Vocals and Marcus on Bass.

How long has the current band line up been together?
Louis: About 8 months now.

How did you meet each other?
Louis: Me and Nicolas go way back. We went to a French High School together. There have been many line up changes throughout the years with the current one being the best by far. We met Safiya and Marcus through an ad that we placed online and they are by far the most talented
individuals we’ve ever worked with and the band as it stands has the best chemistry we’ve had so far.

How did you come up with the band name?
Louis: The band name was given to us by a friend called Laurent Martini from the band Live Evil. When I first heard the name I loved it and automatically had a vision for what it should look like, sound like, and who it should be fronted by. I actually designed  an illustration of who the perfect singer should be. When Safiya showed up for her audition in stilettos looking just like the character, I knew it was kismet, she was the one.

How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t yet heard you?
Louis: Since everyone needs to categorize music we go with rock/blues/funk/soul in that order. We’re really trying to bring back the roots of rock music, which seem to have gotten completely lost in today’s music.

What music did you listen to while growing up?
Louis: I listened to everything from Michael Jackson to Slayer. In my opinion, if it’s good music it’s good no matter the genre.

Which artist or track inspired you to want to make music yourself?
Louis: When was the ‘I want to do that!’ moment?
I don’t think there was one single track or moment. I’ve just always played music since I can remember. I believe I was 6 when I first attended the French conservatory for solfege.
Nicolas: I started playing classical piano at 6 as well. I turned to guitar as a teenager because it was what I was listening to.

What was the last music you put on your ipod or mp3 player?
Louis: Buckcherry.

What have you been up to recently?
Louis: Just released our first EP entitled “First Takes” so we’re playing a lot of shows to promote it.

What can your fans look forward to in the next 12 months?
Louis: More shows and maybe a full length album. If we can get the funding.

What is your current equipment?
Louis: I play an amber vistalite. It’s like the one John Bonham plays in Song Remains the Same but with bigger sizes and fewer drums.
Nicolas: Various Les Pauls from late 60’s models to reissues and cheap copies for stage work. Fender Strats and Telecasters. Amps are Marshall Superleads 1959 Replicas. I like a certain sound that only that combo can make happen; clean, loud, with sustain.

Do you have a favourite piece of musical kit that you couldn’t live without?
Louis: I couldn’t live without my snare. I was playing in a folk band before this. The singer didn’t want me to use a snare because he felt it was too loud for the project, so I quit.
Nicolas: it’s all subjective, but my ’58 Les Paul RI is pretty good.

If you had an unlimited equipment budget what would be on your shopping list?
Louis: More cymbals.
Nicolas: Unlimited access to a good recording studio.

Do you use the same equipment live as you do when in a studio?
Louis: I do.
Nicolas: I don’t bring out the ‘good’ guitars for live shows. Too easy to break or get stolen at this point.

Do you try to capture your ‘live’ sound on recordings or do you think that the ‘live’ sound and recorded sound should be different experiences for your fans?
Louis: We try to capture our live sound as much as possible. A lot of what makes our music exciting is the energy it has. So when we’re in the studio we really try to capture that energy as much as

How much involvement do you have with the arranging and production of the songs when recording?
Louis: Nick and I have tried to be involved in everything from pre-production to post-production but we also trust the people we hire to work with. Jeff Davis recorded our EP and was great to work with.

Is the production side of things something you’d like to get involved more in the future, maybe working with other artists?
Louis: We’re still waiting to come across any bands in the Bay Area that are playing similar music to ours that we’d like to collaborate with. If you know of any send them our way.

Do you find the process of recording enjoyable and does it get easier the more you do?
Louis: The process is a little tedious and repetitive but the feeling of satisfaction you receive at the end when the product is finished is priceless.
Nicolas: Speaking for myself, I’d say it’s probably my favourite part, though it is a bit tedious.

Do you have any new recordings planned?
Louis: Maybe a full length this year.

Which are your favourite original tracks?
Louis: I love all the songs we play. And I’m not just saying that.

Who are the main songwriters for the band?
Louis: Nicolas and I, in that order.

Do you have a set routine when writing and recording or does it depend on each track and the inspiration?
Louis: We actually do and set up a production cycle to facilitate in producing more music. Nick comes up with the majority of our content and I join in whenever I have an idea for a chord
progression or a riff or something. Then we shoot the music over to Safiya to add vocals. And finally we play it all together in the studio to solidify the rhythm section and to make the whole thing gel together.

Would you sign with a major record company?
Louis: I would personally consider it. If only to finance things because at this point of the game our funds are pretty scarce.

How do you promote your music and get your music out to new fans?
Louis: We do a lot of promotion via the internet and gigs obviously.

Which music promotion websites do you use and do you have a favourite?
Louis: Myspace, Reverbnation,Youtube.

Do you think such sites and the internet are good tools for independent and unsigned artists?
Louis: Absolutely. Those are all promotional outlets that generations before us didn’t have.

What is your opinion on ‘battle of the bands’ competitions?
Louis: They’re alright. Most of the time clubs just use those to get people to their clubs so it’s not necessarily about judging the music and more about seeing how many friends each band can get into the club.
Nicolas: I can live without them.

Do you get nervous before a gig? How do you calm down?
Louis: I used to get nervous. But when you do enough of them after a while you just become more comfortable with them.
Nicolas: I still get nervous.

Is composing for film or tv something you’d like to get involved in if the opportunity came along?
Louis: We’re always looking for creative ways to get our music to people.

Is there anything you’d like to add?
Louis: Thanks for putting us in your magazine. And check out our EP on iTunes!

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