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Getting serious with Serious Bangs

Feb 24th, 2012 | By | Category: Feature, Sounds
Serious Bangs

Members of Greensboro's Serious Bangs craft wonderful lo-fi pop gems - L to R: Katrina Siladi, Shaina Machlus, and Mike Wallace (Photo by Keith Warther)

Recently, my friend and fellow AG contributor Keith Warther and I had the pleasure of talking with Serious Bangs, a Greensboro based trio with an awesome sound. Serious Bangs is Katrina Siladi on vocals, Mike Wallace on guitar, and Shaina Malchus on drums. I first saw them open up Greensborofest last fall, and they kicked total ass.

When Keith and I arrived at Kat and Shaina’s house, I had no idea what to expect. However, we were immediately welcomed by the three musicians, who offered us mugs of water [“It’s very important to stay hydrated,” insisted Shaina] and free smells of their split-pea soup [“We’re always cooking.”].

How would you describe your music?

Shaina Machlus: Lo-fi, simple.

Katrina Siladi: Lo-fi, dream pop, pop rock. It’s pretty far out there.

How long have you guys been playing music together?

SM: Mike and I started in January 2011. We practiced in this house, and since I live with Kat, she knew all our songs and even named some of them. So she offered to sing.

KS: [I joined] when it got warmer…April I think. So let’s just go with a year.

How is your music different from some of Greensboro’s other music?

KS: Definitely in the young scene of Greensboro’s artists there are few women. If they are in bands, there’s not more than one and they’re usually playing keys or not as featured. I think that [having two girls in the band] makes it a little different.

Mike Wallace: I would agree with that. One band I play in there’s a lady-female body person who plays keys and [I think] that’s an unintentional theme. Along with the lo-fi thing, we are pretty straightforward, not with instruments but with application of instruments. I think it could be easy to not have a lot of effects. We focus on vocals and guitar. We’re direct, in a way.

KS: Stripped down.

SM: What you see is what you get.

MW: It’s intimate in a way.

SM: I feel like we put ourselves out there a lot. We don’t have effects to cover us up. We only have the three of us and you hear everything we do.

MW: For better or for worse.

SM: We also sing about funny things. Which is nice, and you can hear what we sing about.

MW: I like that this band has a sense of humor.

KS: It’s a lot about Greensboro. Our songs are about us and our lives here.

What’s your opinion of Greensboro and its music scene?

SM: It’s awesome. I always say that I feel lucky to be in Greensboro because this is the first time that I’ve played in a band. I’ve only played drums for a year. We have been so warmly supported because of the Greensboro music community.

MW: I think there is a nice reception…I like Greensboro and its music a lot. I’ve been here for a few years now. There’s a ton of good bands in the area. There’s a ton of people who like music and get involved with it. Three or four nights a week I’m out seeing a show. For a place that has trouble with venues, that’s cool to me.

KS: It’s not a very competitive city in a lot of aspects.

MW: It doesn’t feel like there’s a lot of competition. We don’t have a club where bands are competing. Everyone’s happy to be doing what they’re doing and have a chance to play and make records. There’s a lot of press and writing about the music scene.

What other bands have you played in?

SM: Mike Wallace has a huge list.

MW: I’m in a band called Estrangers, a band called Drag Sounds. I’ve been in bands like Bows and Arrows, Ghost Beach, Rough Hands, and Weird Snakes.

SM: I don’t think piano recitals count, so this is my first band.

KS: This is my first rock band. But I’ve sang my whole life with different musicians. I learned how to sing at church. I sang Whitney Houston in church once.

What’s the most challenging thing as a band?

KS: Figuring out what to wear. Just kidding.

SM: This is my first band and I’ve never been trained to play drums. Mike and I have figured it out along the way. I think in a lot of ways this band is pretty unconventional and we learn from each other. I think that can be the biggest challenge. It’s a good challenge, though. It fuels the band.

KS: We have the energy of the novice…the excitement of “whoa, that worked!”

SM: Every time we practice, we get better and we get really excited.

MW: This band is mostly free of challenges I guess. Negative challenges, at least.

Serious Bangs

Free of any negative challenges Serious Bangs takes some time to get creative (Photo by Keith Warther)

What about lacking a bass player? Does that come up as a challenge at all?

MW: It makes it easier to not have a bass player to get together. It’s also musically interesting to try to have a band with limiting factors. It’s exciting to do things with different confines.

SM: When we first started playing, [Mike and I] just played drums and guitar. We’ve just taken things as it comes. We have a guitarist, a drummer, and a singer. It never came up that we would need a bassist.

What do you think of today’s music industry? Where is it going?

SM: I can tell you my opinion, but if I don’t know if it applies to Serious Bangs. I don’t believe we’ll be a part of the music industrial machine.

MW: We don’t play industrial music.

SM: I think we’re formatted so we don’t have to worry about that. In the best way possible.

MW: It seems like a good time for music. At this point we’re like the technology and tools of making music and exposing music are so accessible. Unprecedented, in a way. It feels like there’s a lot of music out there.

KS: There’s better access to sharing than there ever has been. That’s a result of things being horizontal and consolidated.

MW: As far as the money stuff goes…

SM: More money, more problems.

What bands have influenced or inspired you as musicians or otherwise?

KS: Beyonce and Billie Holliday.

SM: I want the Clash in there, as far as drums go. I really want to highlight Beyonce.

MW: The Velvet Underground a lot.

KS: Born Ruffians?

SM: All of our friends that we play with.

KS: Nancy Sinatra. We’re covering a Nancy Sinatra song.

SM: Mostly Beyonce, though.

MW: 50s style guitar bands.

KS: Chuck Berry.

MW: The Shaggs.

What’s your favorite song you play?

KS: Sad Song.

MW: Sad Song is one of the first songs we wrote that was really…heavy. That song is really affecting.

KS: It gets people to the point.

SM: It’s hard. There’s a lot of emotion. And we wrote those lyrics together.

KS: We passed around the sheet together.

MW: We took various methods to write the song.

Do you have any recordings or a website?

MW: We have a Facebook.

KS: There’ll be music up in April.

MW: There’s videos. Some are great and some are really great. We’re going to record in March with our friend Tim Nolan in Winston Salem.

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2 Comments to “Getting serious with Serious Bangs”

  1. Mat Masterson says:

    Serious interview. Love it.

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