“When you’re not part of the scene, you don’t really know where to start, and this place [Square Cat Vinyl] was incredible,” says vocalist/guitarist Jeremiah Little, while sitting alongside his band at the Fountain Square venue. “We met so many people. I still talk to people on a regular basis that I met here and were critical to us getting X, Y, or Z show.”
Since those humble beginnings, the band has certainly made big strides, releasing a full-length album, Gateways,in November 2018 that was accompanied by a 16-page zine. Next month, Robots And Magic Powers will also be featured on WFYI’s Small Studio Sessions. And just yesterday, the band released a new video for their song “Beautiful,” which was filmed at the historic Melody Inn (see the video below).
With years of musical experience, Little first had an urge to start Robots And Magic Powers after growing tired of his home studio life.
“At one point in my life, I just said, ‘I need a change, and I just need to start this band so I can release all this creativity that I have,’” Little recalls.
Little eventually crossed paths with keyboardist/cellist Ceres Vista through the world of visual arts. “I’ve always been more of a visual artist,” Vista admits. “I still have a hard time considering myself a musician because that’s really new for me.” Before Robots And Magic Powers had become the full ensemble it is today, Little and Vista found a much-needed home at Square Cat Vinyl’s open mic night.
“When we started our band and we didn’t have any shows, Square Cat is where we came,” Little says. “Ceres and me came, and we broke down some of our songs that were more rock ’n’ roll and made them acoustic. These guys incubated us and made it possible for us to have a venue when we couldn’t get into any other venue.”
“I have to give it up to Chris Wolf — he’s just great,” Little continues. “Everyone that shows up is just there to listen to your music. It’s not like the typical open stages, where everybody’s getting drunk and throwing a big party in the back.”
After bringing bassist Davina Iana and drummer J.J. McGinnis into the mix, the band eventually put together its 2018 album Gateways. Rather than simply releasing the album digitally, the group decided to create a zine, selling it at shows with an accompanying digital download code.
“You listen to stuff online,” Little says. “You get paid very little for that, and I understand that whole system now. But people still want to bring something home with them.”
In addition to this unique approach, Robots And Magic Powers are also releasing several music videos in support of Gateways.
“I don’t just want to be like, ‘We released an album, so now we’re working on our next album,’” Little says. “I want to keep this and savor it, and that’s what videos do for me.”
“Hip-hop artists are all about visuals, and I don’t see a ton of videos coming out for rock,” he adds. “I’d like to see more, so I’m just doing what I think is best for our band.”
With their most recent video for “Beautiful,” the band invited several friends to the Melody Inn for a Sunday evening shoot, creating their latest visual product.
“It was a simple idea where people would wear these masks, and then at the end, they’d take the masks off,” Little says. “The song is called ‘Beautiful,’ and it was all about people putting on these masks. And if you can just take the mask off, you can be true to everyone.”
Robots And Magic Powers will next perform at Healer — an all-ages DIY venue on Indy’s south side. For more information on the show, be sure to visit the band’s official website.
Note: Music editor Seth Johnson learned of Jeremiah Little and his band’s story via this callout asking for artists to share their Indy open mic experiences. Join a larger conversation by following the link below.