Do you desire a combination of funk-reggae-rock and hip-hop for your auditory pleasure? If so, you can catch the gentlemen of Midwest Hype livening up the audience of Broad Ripple Music Fest. Drummer Max Kepler answered some of my questions regarding their musical roots, EWI-influenced sound and second time playing Broad Ripple Music Festival.
NUVO: I saw you guys perform at Oranje. Will this be your first time back to Indy since then? If not, where have you been playing?
Max Kepler: Oranje was the last time we were at Indianapolis, but we usually do play at the Mousetrap. We've been playing there for at least three years if not longer. We've done Peppers a couple times, and Radio Radio, too.
NUVO: I was lucky enough to hear your rendition of "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys at Oranje, but there's a lot more than just hip-hop influencing you. Where else do you draw from?
Kepler: When we started we were a reggae-rock trio, which was when we were listening to a lot of Sublime. Then we got pretty into funk, and that's why we drew horns into the performance to explore that sonic space. There's also a jazz influence, because some of our horn players are jazz guys. Basically, if someone asks we like to say a combination of funk-reggae-rock and hip-hop.
NUVO: That's a pretty eclectic sound!
Kepler: Yeah people will see us at a show and still ask an hour and a half later, "What was that?" Even now, though, we're moving more into an electronic realm.
NUVO: Drawing on your hip-hop vein, any chance of a Mr. Kinetik and Rusty Redenbacher collaboration during your set?
Kepler: It's really possible. We've been working with Rus for a while now. In high school, we were huge Mudkids fans. We really like his style, he takes samples of soul-songs, and because of this aspect we are able to recreate these hip-hop songs with all of our live instrumentation. We used to do a version of "Big Poppa", which actually samples a tune, "Between the Sheets" by the Isley Brothers.
NUVO:: What's it like to incorporate that electronic clarinet into your performance? How did that instrument make its way into your repertoire?
Kepler: It's called an EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument). It's really sweet. It's like the key-tar version of wind instruments. Ben can play almost anything, and we had seen some other bands use it, like the Twin Cats. Ben thought we could incorporate it into our music, as well. We just started writing songs based on what Ben could do. We focus a song around the EWI, and then arrange it. Two of our newer songs are EWI based and came from riffs he made. The first one is an instrumental dance song called "Upside Down Zombie Face" the other one is a called "Break Your Teeth", which is hip-hop based with a salsa breakdown. It's fairly heavy. We've got videos up for both of them.
NUVO: Have you played at Broad Ripple Music Fest before? What are your expectations?
Kepler: This will be our second time doing it again, and we performed at the Mousetrap stage. It was a lot of fun. This time we're performing at the Rock Lobster at 7:30. I like the fact that this location is actually on Broad Ripple Avenue, so people bouncing around, who haven't seen us, may have more of a chance to this time.
[A+E] Festivals + Parties, DJs + Dancing, Rock, Hip-hop
[A+E] Classical Music, Jazz + Blues + R&B
[Music] DJs + Dancing
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[Music] DJs + Dancing