By Alexa Solis
A foursome of leather-clad, shaggy-haired musicians stomped through a local coffee shop, much like they stomp through the vigorous rock ‘n’ roll that has become their calling card. KARMA, a recently formed supergroup with members from local bands the Kanes and the Grimtones, sat down at a large family style table cradling coffees, their leather jackets creaking as their zippers and buttons scraped against the table top.
Band members Greg Gilmore, Michelle Belle, Adam Springob and Carter Stellon exude cool in a way that most bands can only dream of. They are a rarity in a day and age in which classic rock ‘n’ roll bands are far and few between.
“[My favorite thing about the band] is everything that infuses the rock ‘n’ roll attitude and lifestyle,” Springob, bass and vocals, said. “We’re the classiest douchebags in town.”
With everything from the hard rocking “She’s Got It” to the sultry grooves of “Eyes Red,” KARMA’s debut EP. “Aural Pleasure” is the band’s explosion into the scene. The journey to the EP release and tour has been a short one, given that the band has been together for barely four months. Since the group’s inception on Sept. 14, the foursome has managed to record and release their EP as well as launch a national tour.
Gilmore, guitar and vocals, noted that deadlines were a crucial factor in producing the album and getting on tour. For the band, self-imposed deadlines were the key to success.
“It’s kind of scary, you know, we’re taking a big gamble doing what we’re doing, but it’s for real,” Stellon, percussions, said. “It’s definitely a ‘for real’ thing. We’re just putting all our eggs in one basket. One big basket.”
The band is picking up their lives and going on a nationwide tour that, according to Gilmore, could take the better part of the year to complete. KARMA will be recording more music along the way, in New York to be specific.
With a year on the road on the horizon, Stellon is excited to not only see the country, but to see how the band progresses during that time.
“We’ll be working for ourselves, which I think will be the biggest reward,” Springob said. “100 percent of the work will be spent on ourselves, not on some guy with a bunch of cash in his pocket.”
KARMA is a band that takes no prisoners when they play, bouncing off of each other’s instruments and bounding across the stage. They share a similar energy, even during their downtime.
Sitting in the coffee shop, they cracked jokes and finished each other’s punch lines. Determined to succeed, KARMA’s all-or-nothing attitude colors everything that they do. “Aural Pleasure” is filled with driving guitar and drums, and the vocals throughout the EP are the same visceral vocals that made rock music so popular. The group feeds off of that same intense energy when performing.
“[Playing a live show is] somewhat of a free for all,” Stellon said. “We rehearse songs, but then we go live and suddenly we forgot about that. And suddenly Greg could take off and we’re following that, or Adam could take off and we follow that. You never know, every show will be different. There’s no formula behind any of it, so the dynamics are completely fucked.”
Even though KARMA’s fiery sound is serious rock ‘n’ roll, Gilmore said that one of the driving forces behind the band is a sense of humor. According to Gilmore, they work hard to keep the mood light and allow fans to see the band’s tongue-in-cheek attitude.
As the band members spoke about going on tour, a sense of excitement filled the air. At the mention of their departure, they collectively laughed and smiled. Stellon looked up from his coffee.
“For however long it lasts, or for however long it may last, we’re still going to be able to say to ourselves that at some point in our lives we were full-time musicians,” Stellon said. “Whether it’s for six months or nine months or ten years. It’s incredible. It’s the pinnacle of everything.”
Alexa Solis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @thealexasolis.