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Friday October 31st 2014

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Something Is Happening Here

By Kate Peterson

It seems that Raw Panda Records operates like a military style music insurgence. The lot of them is an army of talented, hardworking musicians taking over Pensacola. The next wave of talent taking the stage includes: Timberhawk, Seagull Blue, Chainsaw Kelly and Dawbrey.

On a charitable note, on the night of the show Raw Panda is donating part of the ticket sales and taking donations for the Belmont Youth Band. The Belmont Youth Band is run by Vivian Lamont, who was recently named by WEAR Channel 3 TV as an “Angel in Our Mist,” a nomination for area leaders who dedicate time and effort to a worthy cause.

Along with the show at Vinyl Music Hall, there is a preshow party/in-store concert at Revolver Records featuring Future Manager (Gio Lugo) and Early Founder (Brandon Warren). Future Manager is the solo outlet for Gio Lugo of Paloma; Early Founder is Brandon Warren’s electronic music project.
There is a unique incestuous element to the evening, all of the musicians work with each other and perform with each other in different bands and individually. They run the gamut of genres, indie, blues and rock—all similar, but different.

Now, see if you can keep up with this: it is like six degrees of separation. First, you have Raw Panda Records and Sean Peterson. He seems to be the pied piper—knows everyone and helps all of the musicians record their music. Then there is Timberhawk consisting of Jordan Richards, Aubrey Nichols, Nathan Dillaha, Matt Nichols and Chris Holly; Chainsaw Kelly consisting of Brandon Smith, Michael Daw, Daz Sevilla and Aubrey Nichols; Seagull Blue consisting of Joe Napier, Taylor Wyrosdick, Logan Phillips, Jeff Cranford. And finally, there is Dawbrey consisting of Michael Daw and Aubrey Nichols.

Keep in mind that all of these musicians under any set of circumstances could play a gig and be perfectly comfortable getting the job done. IN spoke to members of each band ahead of their upcoming show.

TIMBERHAWK- IN spoke to Aubrey Nichols, who plays bass and sings for the band.

IN: How did Timberhawk start?
NICHOLS: Jordan Richards and I went to high school together. We were in a band called, Reynosa for about two years, and when that band broke up, we decided to stay a band. It gave us a chance to play.

IN: We understand you are working on, or have almost finished an album, that is almost ready for release, is that right?
NICHOLS: Tentatively, and this is the biggest news of the interview, we will release our all original, eleven song album on the first Friday in November. The CD release party will be at Vinyl. Don’t quote me on that date yet, it is not finalized. The music is mastered and ready to go. [Nichols later confirmed the CD release will be Friday, November 2].

IN: Being a cover band at most of your gig’s around town, and throwing in originals now and then, how does it feel to have your first all original album coming out?
NICHOLS: We are extra proud. Sean was moving his recording studio and we didn’t have anywhere to record, so we moved the whole studio into my living room. We spent eight to 10 hours a day recording.

IN: The completion of the CD itself might be the crowning achievement, but often during a lengthy creative process something unexpected happens, did it during the making of this CD?
NICHOLS: Yeah something extraordinary did happen. We were working on a song and it ended on a note that did not match, didn’t sound right. We worked on it—Peterson and the rest of the band—for about 20 minutes. We came to a circle of 5ths, we made it happen, made it work. We all realized, as we have known, we are more than a bar band, we have more legitimacy than that. The other achievement is on the song, “NO.” The way the song was recorded was with no drums, no bass, and no guitar. We said to ourselves, “Oh my gosh, what is this new territory?”

CHAINSAW KELLY- IN spoke to Michael Daw, or Daw as everyone calls him. The band started to form after high school when two of the members were in the same youth group at church. They used to open for Timberhawk’s first band and play house parties and bar gigs.

IN: We have to ask about the name, Chainsaw Kelly.
DAW: We were always under the impression the band name means very little. As an example, Cake, not a great name, but a great band. I could say the same thing about the Beatles. Originally, we named the band, John the Baptist on a Clam. Then once we ran across a fellow who named his kids these extraordinarily long names and there was Chainsaw Kelly.

IN: You have such a retro-blues sound, how did you choose that genre?
DAW: It chose us. We both started in metal bands. We liked Led Zeppelin, and others, then we started listening to Muddy Waters and liked that a lot more. We do run the gamut of American country rock/blues, blues and surf rock. We have been asked to open for David Allen Coe at Vinyl next month.

DAWBREY- Aubrey Nichols from Timberhawk, and Michael Daw from Chainsaw Kelly both spoke on the behalf of their band.

NICHOLS: The reason Dawbrey exists is that for years Daw and I would write songs, play them for an audience and see what sticks. We ended up writing a lot of songs that didn’t fit with either band we were in. We all decided that since Raw Panda stands for one for all and all for one, we should play those songs gathered over the years. It leans toward the roots/folk genre. It is a noble and just cause.

DAW: I like to think of the whole Raw Panda thing as a revival of sorts. We all are like-minded, do-it-yourself musicians. It is refreshing to see the crowds come out. My first real gig was with Aubrey at End of the Line Café. We have been writing so much, and we decided to dig out the older songs the each of us wrote and play them for this show at Vinyl.

SEAGULL BLUE- IN spoke to Joe Napier. Seagull Blue is indie rock with more of a rock ‘n’ roll sound. They write original songs. Their plans for the future: to make music their day job.

IN: On Facebook, the band’s interests are listed as honesty, spaceships, coffee and Jesus. Is that in some sort of order?
NAPIER: No, well at least not in the order, I do not know if there is an order.

IN: We couldn’t help but notice that one of your band member’s last names is the same as on political signs we saw around Santa Rosa County, Wyrosdick, is there any relation?
NAPIER: It is [Taylor Wyrosdick’s] Uncle. He was running for the Santa Rosa County School Board.

IN: Tell us about the Kickstarter project you organized to raise the money to make your first album, “Brighter Side of Reckless?”
NAPIER: We raised more funds than we expected. An anonymous donor gave us the $750 we were looking for and made us commit that anything above what we asked for be donated to Loaves and Fishes. It was a sizeable donation and that does not happen often, we are extremely happy about it. We have finished tracking it.

IN: The main gift for anything over $500 was a tattoo of the donor’s name on the band somewhere, did you do that?
NAPIER: He opted out of the tattoo idea.

IN: Where do you reside?
NAPIER: All in Pensacola, Pace and Milton. I am in school at UWF.

IN: Where and when did the band form?
NAPIER: We have been friends for many years. We both played in the church. I had an idea of what my band would look like. It took a long time to get going.

IN: Where do you play?
NAPIER: Handlebar, Sluggo’s, we have traveled to Mobile and Tallahassee.

IN: What about playing this show at Vinyl?
NAPIER: I am more excited about this than I have been about anything in a long time. We [the band and I] were walking by Vinyl one night and said by the end of 2012 we will play there. Then Sean called and we are.

RAW PANDA PRESENTS: TIMBERHAWK, SEAGULL BLUE, CHAINSAW KELLY & DAWBREY
WHAT: Timberhawk, Seagull Blue, Chainsaw Kelly and Dawbrey with special pre-show in store performance by Future Manager (Gio Lugo) and Early Founder (Brandon Warren), at Revolver Records
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, September 15; Preshow 5:30 p.m.
WHERE: Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S. Palafox; Revolver Records, 9 E. Gregory St.
COST: $5, and donations will be accepted for the Belmont Youth Band
DETAILS: vinylmusichall.com