The other day, I had the pleasure of emailing Shane Lewis. He’s the guitar player for Blue Oddity, a tiny rock outfit from Grand Rapids Michigan. Blue Oddity blends a wide variety influences together in what they call “Lake Michigan Rock”. We discussed a number of topics, including this blend, how it came to be and what the band plans to do next.
If you’re interested about listening to this band, you can find their music on Spotify.
1) For those of us who do not frequent the Grand Rapids music scene, can you describe your sound? I know you call yourself “Lake Michigan Rock”, but in your words, what does that sound like?
‘Lake Michigan Rock’ is a term we came up with after many frustrating hours of struggling to pinpoint our genre/sound. Our sound is an enigma of sounds stemming from the collective perspective each member of the band brings to the table. Cristian, our Latino lead-man has brought flavors of Classical, Emo Pop, and Classic Rock. Our lead axe-man, Shane, has provided influence ranging from the Blues, Funk-Rock and Space-Rock. Our drummer, Dylan, is highly influenced by Psychadelic-Rock, Funk and Jazz. Our newest member, Jubilee, who plays keys and piano, provides vibes inspired by contemporary classical music, instrumental music and alternative rock.
2) How does your writing process work, do you all collaborate on the lyrics or is that job reserved for just one person?
Thus far, we have had no specific formula for our writing process. Some songs, such as ‘4133’ and ‘Skippin Town’ were written indivually [sic] (by Shane and Cristian, respectively). However, most often, our songs will evolve out of our jam-sessions together. Someone will play a riff/lick and everyone, collectively will add to and refine it. Over time, this process often develops into the creation of a new song. The best example of this is for our unreleased Blues Rock song ‘Cajun Pie’. This song was written spontaneously one night during a jam session. Dylan was baking an apple pie for us to enjoy after our session when he asked Shane to sprinkle it with cinnamon. Shane, mistakenly, grabbed the spice jar next to the cinnamon and covered the pie with ‘Cajun spices’. After this, we took a few riffs that we were working on that night and the pie-incident inspired a ‘confection’ that everyone added their own ‘seasoning’ to. The song was ‘baked to perfection’ (Ok, we’ll stop with the pie puns now) that night with a concept of the intensity of a Civil War battle-march.
3) If you had to pick just one, which album would be your favorite?
CRISTIAN – 22, A Million, Bon Iver
SHANE – Stadium Arcadium, Red Hot Chili Peppers
DYLAN – Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd
JUBILEE – Whatever And Ever Amen, Ben Folds Five.
4) Are there any bands you would desperately love to tour with someday?
CRISTIAN – The Black Keys
SHANE – Kings of Leon
DYLAN – Tame Impala/Pond
JUBILEE – Amanda Palmer
5) What are you listening to lately? Anything you would recommend?
CRISTIAN – Thoughts, Thrupence (album)
SHANE – Band of Gypsies, Jimi Hendrix (live album)
DYLAN – Siamese Dream (album), Smashing Pumpkins
JUBILEE – Disorder, Joy Division (song).
6) What made you decide to “get into” music and start a band?
Shane and Dylan have been great friends since they played on the same Little League Baseball team as children. Each of their musical tastes and goals have been highly influenced by their friendship. Dylan and Shane met Cristian in 2016 at a ‘Friendsgiving’ party and discovered they all had similar musical interests and goals. Over the next year, the three constantly ‘jammed out’ together and flirted with the possibility of forming a formal musical project. One fall day, in 2017, they finally dove in head-first and officially formed ‘Blue Oddity’. Almost a year later, Cristian introduced the band to his friend Jubilee, who plays keyboards and piano. After jamming with us and joining us for a few shows, ‘Jubi’ was welcomed on-board full-time.
7) What are your thoughts about bands releasing more singles, rather than following a traditional route and just releasing albums?
Singles are great to get attention, but there’s too much focus on getting them out. A good album has the capacity to draw you into the world of the artist, showing you their thoughts and creative reach. Singles are like the puzzle pieces and albums are the full puzzle. Without the individual pieces, you don’t have access to the big picture.
8) I noticed you are on Spotify, which is great for exposure and picking up new fans. Do you have plans of releasing new content this year, perhaps an album?
We have about an album’s worth of material ready to record but our current focus is getting our name out there by gigging around the midwest so we can have a following once we do put our first professional LP forward. There is a possibility that this could occur within 2019 but there are no solid plans as of yet to get into the studio. Keep an eye on our social media (Facebook, Instagram, BlueOddity.net etc) for updates on what we are up to!