Miranda Sound lifts their own bar of comparison 

Miranda Sound are Billy Peake (guitar and vox), Dan Gerken (guitar, vox, keys, cello), Sean Sefcik (bass, keys) and Scott Haynes (drums). Coming from divergent musical backgrounds, Sefcik and Haynes both previously played in other bands, while this is Peake’s first foray. Gerken, a classically trained musician with 14 to 20 years on the cello and piano and a college rock band on his rap sheet, rounds out the group.

Miranda Sound is in Indy this weekend, playing various venues.
The band initially existed as a three-piece combo that consisted of Peake, Sefcik and Haynes. Peake humorously insists that there was a master plan at work when asking for Gerken’s cameo involvement in playing shows and recording the group’s first album, Baby Inertia. Soon after, Gerken’s guest appearances resulted in his full-fledged membership in Miranda Sound, proving Peake’s “scheme” victorious, thus solidifying a lineup detonating with creative chemistry.

The sound Miranda Sound stands in direct defiance to the practice of being defined by comparisons. What does the band do when confronted with the inevitable inquisition of “What do you sound like?” According to Gerken, they prefer to “avoid it like the plague.” But he expounded by saying their default description is “a melodic indie rock with two singers and a powerful rhythm section.”

Despite their efforts, it’s uncanny how many different bands they get compared to. “I think we’re trying to defy the cliché that everything’s already been done,” Peake states. “We’re not incredibly prolific or the most amazing thing you’ve ever heard, but I think we’re trying to push toward what hasn’t been done before.”

The band’s threadwork is further demarcated by their unique composition in the installment of two guitarist/frontmen in Peake and Gerken. Elaborate counter-melodic vocal interplay and precision harmonies are trademarks for the duo.

Gerken says, “At a show, even if people say they don’t like our music, they won’t say that they’ve heard it before.” Gerken adds that he believes it’s important for music to sound new and not familiar.

Persistence pays

Indy is a rough place to break locally, let alone a touring band. Although they had played several times at the Melody Inn to the credit of owner/operator Dave Brown’s ear for traveling talent, MS had been left cold by their initial visits to Indy, which were best described as “discouraging” by Sefcik. “Dave runs a great ship there; we just ended up on some unlucky lineups and on unlucky nights.” Despite the lack of encouragement, they continued making Indy a regular stop.

The gears switched last summer after an empty Birdy’s show. They played a full-throttle rock set like they had no clue there was less than a baker’s dozen in attendance. Based on the strength of the set, they were asked to play a second gig that night at a Ventilator Studios private party. They accepted, jumping at the chance to play, and did two more solid sets at Ventilator that wrapped up shortly before 5 a.m. to raving feedback. From there, they loaded up to make the treacherous 10-hour trek to Minneapolis for their next show. They left Indy, having made contacts that led directly to them getting asked back to town to play on solid bills to packed houses, including the Melody Inn.

Haynes defines the band like this: “Give 100 percent from start to finish and leave everything you have in your body on the stage.” Miranda Sound will play two shows in Terre Haute on Thursday, May 1, an all-ages No Headliners gig at the Emerson Theater with Loretta, Saving Ray, The Brand Plastic and Extra Blue Kind on May 2, followed by a radio appearance on the Free Zone on WICR (88.7 FM) from 12-3 a.m. The No Headliners show will play Birdy’s the next night, Saturday, May 3.

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