Atlantis the Band: Spotlight

There’s nothing like a charismatic twin-duo to get a room grooving. Today let’s look at the jazzy R&B/Soul and Pop group stationed in Los Angeles, Atlantis the Band, led by the Merriweather twins – brothers bound not only by blood but by their simple love of music. Their voices blend smoothly with a cool dynamic; lead singer Travis Merriweather leads the group with his sweet but edgy melodies and impressive range, while his brother Rustein Merriweather  provides the the fruity rap component with his quick, magnetic, syncopated verse. Watch the band performing their own version of the Beastie Boys’ “Sabrosa” live at the Viper Room in Los Angeles. 

 

 

The band also has a pretty stacked cast in regards to instrumentation. In addition to Travis with funky bass lines and Rustein’s adeptness on the keyboard, there is some serious backup. They’re joined by the Regiment Horns – Sean Eric on trumpet, Kevin Lloyd Williams, Jr. on trombone and Leon Silva on the sax. On drums sits Grammy award-winner Lyndon Rochelle, whose drum solos captivate and will leave an awestruck audience wanting more. Takahito Mori’s guitar interludes and riffs rock the stage and fill the sound with eccentric, gleaming energy. They are also joined by Grammy nominated producer and drummer Taylor Gordon in addition to Natalie Stephenson on vocals. Watch them here performing a cover of Santana’s “Maria Maria” at Couture in Hollywood. Be sure to catch Mori’s epic guitar solo about 50 seconds in!

 

 

The band has performed at some notable venues, such as The Mint, The Peppermint Club, Sofitel Beverly Hills, Sunset Tower, and The House of Blues on Sunset. The twins have also been involved at a political level with Hillary and Bill Clinton, after being invited back during college to take part in the Clinton Global Initiative University summit. The two of them stayed connected with the Clintons and Travis even got to work on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election campaign. See lead singer Travis Merriweather showing off his vocals with “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

 

 

Atlantis the Band, thanks to the initial catapulting by the twins back in college, has emerged as a powerful band with an intense range of talent – everywhere from their emotional depth and soul to excited hip-hop beats – and their innovative interpretations and writing proves them to be very worthy of the stage. Be sure to check out their page to see and listen to more of their music. Also, although they began in Texas, their music-making happens in Los Angeles, so if you’re in the area, be sure to check on their Upcoming Gigs category so that you can hear their hearty music live! Here’s one last clip of them covering Jay Z’s “Can’t Knock The Hustle” at the House of Blues on Sunset.

 

 

Groove with the Funk: Gussie Miller

It’s time for some jazz funk. Sit down, get ready, and tune in to this artist’s smooth bass lines, and lively horns and let fantastic vocalist Gussie Miller wrap you up in quite a mood. Listen here to his band’s upbeat and funky song, “What More Can I Say.”

 

 

Gussie Miller has been in the entertainment industry from the time he was a child. His background in music comes from his time growing up in a musical family. Early in his life he was taken under the wing of some notable studios and came to understand the workings of commercials, TV and film production. From then on, he branched into the music world. He went on tour as a background singer for some pretty famous artists, such as Cher, Lavern Baker, and Seal. His voice is on tracks with these artists, as well as others such as Marcus Miller, Gino Vannelli, and break out artists Jessica Celious and Lance Todd, among many others. Watch him here rocking out with famous actress Janelle Monae at the Lucky Strike Live in Hollywood.

 

 

If you listen to Gussie’s voice, you can just hear the years of experience he carries. His melodies are smooth, and articulate, but never boring. And check out his range – it’s pretty incredible. Many of his songs begin in slower, deeper, lower melodic lines and ascend until you don’t think that Gussie could sing any higher. His vocals drip with talent, hard work, and sheer enjoyment. You can hear him smiling in his voice while he hits high notes none of us could even imagine reaching. Most of his tracks display his sheer, natural gift and extraordinary control of his vocal chords. Listen closely to how much he commands control of pitch and places pieces of vibrato perfectly in each line. Here’s him performing “Give it All” for the NPR Music Tiny Desk Contest.

 

 

In addition to his features on multiple albums with other artists, Gussie has also had some of his music played on various TV shows and movies, such as Cop Rock, South of Sunset, Family Matters, Doogie Howser M.D., I Think I Love My Wife, and Everybody Hates Chris. Gussie, however, in all of his years as an accomplished professional musician, had not released an album until 2016. However, he finally released his album Forever Plan that year, which he recorded with “Motown engineer” Ralph Sutton, and which was produced by Mike Fennel from the Universal Music Publishing Group. The album is an amazing collection of songs, all different, but never going too far from Gussie’s distinct rock&roll/funk sound. Listen to this recording of Gussie singing “Wantin’ You,” from Forever Plan, in a live rehearsal with his band.

 

 

Gussie’s work for Forever Plan paid off. It’s now available on multiple online streaming platforms, and is for sale on many online music-selling companies such as Amazon Music, eMusic, iTunes and GooglePlay. Gussie is currently working on live shows and touring, but is excited for 2018, when he plans to release his next CD. Watch out for him around Los Angeles, check out his page, and try to see him live. Guaranteed, you will not be disappointed, and furthermore, you won’t be able to stop bouncing your head to the smooth, jazzy, funky beats he’ll glue right into your head.

Feature of the Week: M I L K

Today we had the chance to sit down with L.A. based four-piece M I L K, with a space between each letter. The psychadelic-indie rock band gave us some insight on their beginnings, their inspirations, as well as their creative process.

 

Gigmor: Hey guys, thanks for talking with us at Gigmor today. Can you all tell us about yourselves as well as your musical backgrounds?

Eric Marx (vocals/guitar): I have always “made” music; when I was a little kid I remember “playing the rain” on the family piano… I was involved in different projects before M I L K, mostly indie rock and grunge, both in Europe and the U.S. I believe a guitar riff will always carry us to a better place. With this project, I wanted to bring together my love for grunge rock and 70’s psychedelia and so far, we are pretty excited with the results.

Maeve (vocals/keyboard): We write songs together with Eric but I take care of lyrics, keys, samples and everything that deals with production: I love mixing, tweaking sounds… Our gigs in Los Angeles or in Europe are a major part of the band’s life. We actually love to share our world and sounds with the public! Live performance is the core and soul of M I L K ‘s music. On stage, nothing separates you from the public anymore and it is really like …magic!

Dylan Strazar (drums): Before M I L K, I played in several rock projects, mostly in Connecticut where I’m from. I’ve met Eric and Maeva who were looking for a drummer for the band. The band is now based in Paris. I really dig the music and the overall energy. To me M I L K really is the meeting of heavy grunge and psychedelic rock in the likes of The Doors, Pink Floyd or Hendricks.

Allanis Nixer (bass): I come from a family of Brazilian musicians. With Dylan, we really are the rhythmic backbone of the band. Everything that shakes or grooves, that’s us! It is funny how when people see me, because I’m a Brazilian girl, they immediately think “salsa” or a similar style when I am totally into rock!

G: Well thanks, sounds like you each had unique musical upbringings. So about the name, tell us about the spacing. Is there a story behind that?

E: Actually the spacing is more like a visual approach to the word “milk.” When you read “milk” the basic concept that comes to your mind is of a white beverage, a food. Spacing the letters lift the world of from this concept making it more like a name, a signature, an identity for the band while keeping the overall idea of something liquid and smooth …I think.

G: What is your songwriting process like? Have you hit any speed bumps along the way?

E: We have two ways of writing songs. Maeva and I come up with the main melody and lyrics, sometimes with drums and bass sometimes just guitar and vocals. And then we put the song together with the whole band. Or we also excerpt a few minutes from a jam played with the band. This way is the easiest because songs and ideas just pop up spontaneously. Everything is done while jamming vocals, guitar, bass and drums. Maeve adapts the lyrics afterwards. Our song “Give Me Some” is one of these little “miracles”. It comes from a jam in Los Angeles with the band. Music works in mysterious ways.

G: Do you prefer playing originals or covers?

E: We play originals. Writing songs is really creating art and it is great for the brains. Mixing our idea of grunge and psychedelic rock into new numbers is what M I L K is really about. And hopefully these tracks will become ageless songs. That’s our goal. The only song we cover right now is “Dancing Barefoot” from Patti Smith. We are true fans, she’s great! We just gave her song a heavy Doors flavor and we love it!

G: Any new releases coming up?

E: We are in the process of finishing recording and mixing new songs right now. Hopefully they will be ready for downloading and streaming pretty soon. The great thing about the ‘net is that you don’t need to have the full album ready all at once. I like the flexibility of showcasing songs when they are ready one or two at a time if necessary. It keeps the interest up and it is more in tune with nowadays creative process: as a continuous flow versus everything at the same time.

G: Ok last question, how did you find out about Gigmor? Is there anything specifically you like about it?

E: I think you guys contacted us through an email. In fact we love Gigmor because of its musician friendly approach. It is not one of those sites that treat artists like numbers. We can feel like the whole team is standing strong and pushing for music to reach its audience whether it is live or not. Reaching out is a real challenge today given the huge number of bands around. We always need a little help from our friends!

G: Well thank you so much for taking the time to do an interview with us! Check out            M I L K’s song “Give Me Some” below and make sure to follow them on Gigmor.

Written by Gigmor guest blogger: Ari Kapner