The first band that I have the honor to do a Q&A for Vokuhila is the Portland, ME basedMuddy Ruckus. They made a great impression on me last summer. I saw them perform while I was working at Festival at the Farm in Canton, MA. The aggressive sound of Ryan Flaherty's guitar and his gritty vocals, combined with the driving drum beat of Erika Stahl, made them my favorite performance of the day. This could be considered as a heck of a feat, with them playing as the festival opener that Saturday, followed up by more established bands such as The Motet and Ryan Montbleau.
Here is a short clip from that Festival at the Farm performance:
I appreciate bands that are responsive on social media. Muddy Ruckus often replies to posts and follows back. And it didn't hurt that they showed interest after I contacted them about playing at my upcoming craft beer festival. These are among the many reasons that I decided to ask Ryan to answer my questions before anyone else.
Q. What is your favorite music festival that you have performed at?
A. Every festival has been special to us. One that sticks out is FAIRfest in Fairfield, IA. The festival takes place every June. We performed there on our 2015 summer tour. There was a great line up, including Elephant Revival and Greg Brown.
Q. What makes that festival stand out for you?
A. It's in the middle of Iowa, also the middle of nowhere. But it's one of the coolest little towns you could ever visit and every single person in town showed up to see the music. It's also home to (Maharishi School) the world's largest training center for Transcendental Meditation. Who would have guessed?
Q. Do you have any upcoming music festival performances lined up for 2017? If so, which festival(s)?
Q. In addition to New England this year, where else will you be touring?
A. In April we'll be going down the East Coast to Georgia and North Carolina. We also plan to hit Texas again, hopefully Colorado and some West Coast areas.
Q. What is it like touring as a couple?
A. For the most part it's good. We're pretty compatible with most things and share pretty much everything. It is nice being on the road with someone you care so deeply for, and can talk about pretty much anything. And we like each other's smell. So that's good!
Q. In this sophomore album of yours (Pretty Bones), you received the 2016 Red Line Roots Album of the Year. What does this award mean to you?
A. It means a lot because people voted for it. It wasn't like a panel decided. And we really dig the content that comes out of Red Line Roots, so it's an honor to have received the acknowledgement.
Q. You're getting ready to hit the studio for a follow up album. What kind of music should we expect?
A. The next album is going to rock super hard. It'll be raw, and dirty like usual, but to the extreme. We want the album to reflect our live shows, and we're going to squeeze as much sauce as we can out of this duo.
Q. Where are your current inspirations coming from?
Q. A lot is mentioned about your shows in Portland,, but you often perform in Cambridge, MA too. Tell us about the residency that you had there.
A. Cambridge is where everything kind of took off for us. We started playing a residency at TOAD during the winter of 2016. We found an audience there, or they found us, and we started connecting with people and our music more deeply. People in the Cambridge area are truly open to new music and vigorously supportive of local shows. I can't say enough good things about playing in Cambridge.
A. It's an honor to be mentioned amongst these talented artists. They all deserve to be awarded for their craft.
Q. I know that you did at least one show with Wise Old Moon. Have you played alongside any of the other bands too?
A. We've actually played several shows with Wise Old Moon. They're a great band and a sweet bunch. We're planning to do more with them. We also played a show at Lizard Lounge with Haley Jane last year. She crushed it!
Thank you for reading the debut article for Vokuhila. A publication with the goal of putting a spotlight on New England festivals and the indie bands that perform at these events. As I take a break from shoveling out of Winter Storm Stella, I share with you this Q&A. I hope to make these articles a regular series for Vokuhila. Please let me know what you think.
About the author: In addition to Vokuhila, LLC, Jesse L. Medford is the owner of Pour at the Shore, LLC and a member of the Massachusetts Army National Guard. He also has a full-time telecommunications management job, volunteers with a few charities and also owns a handful of other businesses. Jesse lives in Lakeville, MA with his wife and two teenage children.
As a journalist, Jesse has been published in many publications. Mostly for sports writing, with a heavy emphasis towards NASCAR articles. Jesse also has a passion for the music industry. He worked at his first concert in 1999 at Marilyn Manson's Beautiful Monsters Tour. The highlight of that night wasn't frisking the male ticket holders entering the former Patriot Center at George Mason University. It was getting to see the entire Manson performance without interruption. In addition to security, Jesse has been a vendor at numerous music festivals and has moved up into an executive ownership role and talent buyer. Jesse holds a Bachelor of Science in Management from Bridgewater State University.