Indie Artist Spotlight: The Prime

Straight out of Chicago, The Prime is a self described hard power pop trio who love: playing live, writing music, recording, supporting original music, supporting the troops, pretty girls, their hometown, and fighting crime. In a dangerous world of unoriginal pop/rock sludge, these guys are here to save the day. Just don’t ever lend them your cell phone.

Six String Theories recently caught up with Mike Koelling (MK) on Bass, Andrew Delneky (AD) on Lead Vocals and Guitar, and Max Shreffler (MS) on Drums to discuss their new release IN and their love for live music.

Six String Theories: How have audiences responded to your live shows?

MK: Great! Playing live is the best part of making music.  I do my best to connect at every show.  Even if it’s one guy in the back of the room nodding his head while sipping a beer, I latch on to that energy, and it always seems to spread to the rest of the room.

AD: We as a band get a buzz off the crowd’s energy and the energy builds steadily throughout the entire set! It’s always nice to throw off the audience and change the set up.  The most satisfying part of the show is when the audience sings along to our songs. It never gets old and always puts a smile on my face.

MS: We have had a lot of positive feedback from fans to sound engineers and venue operators alike.  I think our main goal now is to build a solid fan base from which to entertain and interact with.

Six String Theories: Speaking of growing a solid fan base, how important is Social Media to marketing a new band like The Prime?

MK: I think everyone is trying to figure out what works these days with social media.  We’ve found that it is great for keeping people up to date with what’s going on.  People are flooded with so much information these days.  I don’t expect them to find me in a sea of Facebook spam or cat videos.

AD: We live in a new age of music, which I’m truly excited for! We have an opportunity to let people see our shows on YouTube without even going to the shows. However, there will never be a replacement for the real thing.

MS: Different things work for different bands, and I think we are still perfecting our social media presentation.  We try and be fun and creative about things and not take ourselves too seriously.

Six String Theories:  OK, as long as we’re not taking ourselves too seriously, give me your best “3 guys in a van” story…

MK: That had to be when we were coming home from a tour and Andrew borrowed my phone to try to get on Delilah After Dark (a call-in radio show)

AD: I was convinced that I was going to talk to Delilah. The show is about sending a request to a love interest out there and we thought we’d throw Delilah off guard. I had an alter ego I was going to unleash to the public known as Toby and talk about his true love: his pickle collection.

MK: I checked the call log and he had made 117 consecutive calls.  We never did get on that show.

AD: Little did we know she threw us off guard because she pre-records everyone of her show.  Her loss.

Six String Theories:  As a three piece band, tell me about the challenges and/or the benefits of playing live?

MS: The challenges we face as such a small group include creating enough sound, and utilizing a variety of sounds to keep things interesting.  The benefits include being able to setup and breakdown quickly, work with minimal instrumentation, and have less opportunities for things to go wrong.

MK: Without a doubt the hardest thing about being a three piece band is achieving the “big sound” that we go for.  Everyone has to be going 100% for all of the live show.  As a 3 piece, we don’t have room for anyone to drop out or slack off.  On the other side, we have a little more freedom to experiment on stage.  It’s a lot easier to keep 3 guys on the same page.  I love this because we can truly be in the moment and play what needs to happen when it needs to happen.

AD: Mike nailed it on the head. For an experimental band like ours, we sometimes have difficulties in reaching the full sound that we want to create. However, I do believe we are developing our sound and the best way to develop is playing live. Every show has been an opportunity to push ourselves, which we do every time.

Six String Theories:  Do you guys do any covers?

MK: We’ve played covers here and there in the past, but it’s never really been our thing though.  I keep swearing that we’re going to learn You’re the Best Around by Joe Esposito to play during sound check to freak people out.

Six String Theories:  The live experience is so critical to a band’s success.  What is your favorite live band?  Tell me about your favorite live concert.

MK:  There are so many!  One concert that really sticks out is the first time I saw Mutemath.  I was getting back into rock and roll after creating a lot of electronic music.  I saw Paul Meany start the show by jumping on top of a Fender Rhodes to bust out a nasty keytar solo.  That moment right there pretty much sealed the deal that I was going to get back into rock and roll.

AD: The most recent show I saw was U2 and it might have been the best show I’ve ever seen. I truly believe a live show should have all the elements to captivate the audience. U2 had them, and very few performers have the power to truly posses a crowd. Other bands I have seen such as AC/DC, Aerosmith, Eric Clapton, Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam to name a few put on a true show.

MS: I think the most fun I’ve had at a concert was the Asteroid Metro Galaxy Tour playing at Schubas a couple years back.  The group had great charisma and killer yet simple grooves. You have to see them live if you haven’t yet.

Six String Theories:  The track listing of In reminds me of Pearl Jam’s Ten, with mostly one word song titles. Any significance?

AD: Haha, well the fact that Ten is one of my favorite albums of all time one might suggest the connection. However, there is no connection. The basic concept of In was simplicity. Keeping things simple is usually the best way to relate to people especially in regards to introducing your sound to the world. The common theme throughout the CD is never give up on finding your voice in the world and work to make a difference for the better.

Six String Theories: Talk about your influences:  I can hear everything from Wolfmother (Track 9, Snake Eyes) to the catchy pop hooks (Track 2, Kingdom) of local bands like Material Issue and Lovehammers.

AD: For myself, I go back to the roots of my songwriting. There’s nothing better then simplicity. Simple has always worked, and always will work. Biggest influences range from the Beatles to Foo Fighters.  I’ve been writing music for a long time, and I have to be honest and say my biggest influences are my peers.  I’ve always tried to be versatile and listen to a big variety of music, which opened up opportunities to stretch my sound into something different that I can truly call my own style.

MK: I grew up studying jazz, then dabbled in electronic music for a while, then went back to jazz and rock and roll.  I’ll listen to anything.  I’m just as likely to be rocking some Bad Plus, Bela Fleck, or Daft punk on my iPod as I am Radiohead, Mutemath, Spoon, or The Whitestripes.  When I’m playing though, I don’t try to sound like anyone or anything.

MS: Being the drummer, I like the aggression and passion of Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins, and the sophistication of Stewart Copeland.  However, in our songs as a whole, we seem to cover a lot of territory.

Six String Theories: You guys are a relatively new band. As you’ve jelled, have their been any conflicts with outside influences? Time constraints? Full time jobs? Girlfriends, wives?

MS: Well none of the band members are currently married, but we all have busy schedules to juggle around.  Whether its playing in other bands and coordinating gig conflicts, to full-time jobs, we always seem to make it work.

AD: Knock on wood.

MK: A lot of planning and a little understanding go a long way.  Oh, and a Google Calendar helps a lot!

Six String Theories:  What’s next? Touring, writing, recording?

MS: We hope to do more regional touring, definitely continuing to write new songs, and we hope to have another CD recorded by the end of the year.

MK: Can we do all of that?  Actually, we’re in the middle of stepping up our stage show big time.

AD: The next album is going to be awesome! We found our sound with In, and we’re going to keep pushing to develop our sound in whatever direction it may lead us. We are all amazingly excited with our new material, and we can’t wait to show the world what we’ve been working on!  Trust me people, it’ll be a show you wont wanna miss.

Peace & Blessings

If you’re in the Chicagoland area, be sure to catch The Prime live at Goose Island in Wrigleyville, Saturday August 6th, 2011.   Doors at 9:00PM.