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Dayton, OH
United States

Poptek Recs is a simple label with big pop songs.

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Sonic Melody

A Zach of Many Colors.

Andy Ingram

Tamplynn Family Band closes out Communivale this year at 10:35 PM. Andy asked the always interesting Zach Tamplin some relevant questions.

AI: Zach, you have been the guitarist for William the Accountant since that band's inception but you have played occasional solo shows under the moniker of My Father was a Wanderin' Aramean. What can we expect from Tamplynn Family Band?

ZT: Actually I was the second guitarist of William, but either way Tamplynn Family Band is sort of a natural evolution of "My Father..." In a way you could say "My Father..." is a member of Tamplynn Family Band, if that is not confusing enough! I'm an not really sure of what all we can expect from Tamplynn Family Band but I do know that I want to do a lot of collaboration with other musicians.

AI: I think all your friends would fondly describe you as eccentric. Can I say that without being offensive? What current passion of yours can you describe that may not be considered mainstream?

ZT: Hmmm, and know I am not offended. Maybe the work of V.S. Ramachandran? It really is fascinating.

AI: What is fascinating about V.S. Ramachandran? Who is he?

ZT: He is a neuroscientist out in California, I think. He discovered "mirror neurons", a type of brain cell, and other things concerning how the brain works. Interesting stuff.

AI: Any news with William the Accountant?

ZT: William really pushed himself pretty hard and came to a point he had to step back for a bit. This still holds true, but I don't think you have seen the last of him. In the meantime Tamplynn Family Band will do a cover of "134" this weekend. It will be different but the same. So bring your cow bells.

Everyone has a LONELY YEAR with Spencer Apple.

Andy Ingram

LONELY YEAR has shared may shows in the last couple of years with the likes of The FLORALS, JETTY BONES and others. Principle songwriter Spencer Apple is playing solo at Communivale 2015. So Andy Ingram had some questions for him. Spencer plays at 10:10 PM.

AI: LONELY YEAR has played frequently around Springfield and Dayton but I can never figure out if you have a band, duo, or are solo or what? So you are playing solo at Communivale but what is your usual line-up?

SA: LONELY YEAR started out as a two-piece (guitar and drums) but recently it has just been my acoustic guitar and me. I am currently recording an EP that is full-band. I plan to play some full-band shows in the near future, but I am playing solo at Communivale.

AI: Who are you recording with?

SA: Cody Eanes.

AI: Who has Cody recorded or played with?

SA: He is in Ken's Motorbike and Absent Youth.

AI: How old are you? Why aren't you playing video games like most teenagers?

SA: I am 16-years-old. I've never been into video games. A lot of my friends, when I was younger, played video games, but they never interested me. Playing music was way more fun to me!

AI: What makes you want to write songs?

SA: Most of the time when I start to write a song I like to base it off of a situation from my life. Anger and sadness makes me want to write songs because it makes me feel better to write my feelings out on paper.

AI: Who are some of your primary influences?

SA: I've been listening to a lot of Smashing Pumpkins and Catherine Wheel lately and I would say they have an influence on my music.

AI: With so much of your life ahead of you, where do you see music fitting in to your dreams or goals?

SA: I love writing music and playing shows and I feel like I will continue writing and playing the rest of my life, but I do not plan on making music a career. A singer/songwriter's dream is to be noticed by some label and get signed, but I just want to be able to play music and have people relate to it. Wether there are five people in the room or 50, I just want to be able to have one person relate to my music.

The Robot Beat with Ronnie Martin.

Andy Ingram

Ronnie Martin has released records as JOY ELECTRIC since 1994. His unique analogue synthetic sound has amazed many and confused others. Underneath the blips and beeps are some of the most amazing melodies and progressions of the pop music era. Martin has also released records as RAINBOW RIDER, RONALD OF ORANGE, THE FOXGLOVE HUNT (with FINE CHINA's Rob Withem), and has done two records with his brother Jason (STARFLYER 59) under the names DANCE HOUSE CHILDREN and THE BROTHERS MARTIN. Poptek's Andy Ingram considers him a pop songwriting genius. And as any obsessive music geek has done, Andy emailed Martin some random, personal, and fanatical questions. Here is their conversation. (From May 2014)

AI: You have written songs under the name JOY ELECTRIC since 1994. The last JOY ELECTRIC album, DWARF MOUNTAIN ALPHABET, you said would be the end of that project. Can a fanboy ask if that's still true?

RM: Did I say it would be the end? I can't recall. You know, I wouldn't put a definite closure on JE, but I have no plans for anything other than maybe a holiday project in the future. I had written the songs for DMA awhile back, so I wanted to get them into people's ears instead of them sitting indefinitely on the shelf. So DMA was a good opportunity to do that and see if we could fund it through Kickstarter. I feel satisfied with that at the moment.

AI: So what's next for your newer projects, SAID FANTASY and DAPHNE ORAMICS? Are there any other projects in the works?

RM: I've been working simultaneously on two SAID FANTASY albums that should see completion before summer's end. I've spent time on those because I don't have a deadline and I want to make sure I'm taking the right direction. The DAPHNE ORAMICS record has been recorded and just needs to be mixed at this point. The only other project I have in the works is a worship-oriented album for my church, SUBSTANCE, that we'll be recording this summer. It's starting to sound like a lot as I type this.

AI: How do SAID FANTASY and DAPHNE ORAMICS differ from JOY ELECTRIC when it all sounds like your brand of analogue synth pop?
RM: A couple of distinct ways. First off, they're still both completely analogue, meaning that they're limited to analogue synths only. So that part of the formula has remained intact and that's simply because I don't have any interest in other instrumentation for electronic music projects. More specifically, here's how they differ to both JE and each other. SAID FANTASY will be monophonic synthesizers recorded and mixed in mono, completely live, with no sequencers used. So stylistically it will be a very raw oscillator and white noise type of feel. This will give the project a kind of looseness that some of the original synthesizer recordings from the 1970's had. For DAPHNE, we made a rule that it would be analog synths only, no sequencers, but with live drums. So they're both very pure in their vision and output. Vocally, both albums veer from the kind of sounds I've typically done with JE as well. My goal for these was to be very distinct from JE, to the best of my ability.

AI: Is anyone else playing and writing in SAID FANTASY and DAPHNE ORAMICS?

RM: SAID FANTASY is a solo project, and will remain that way in the event of a live show as well. I'm a big fan of one-man electronic shows. DAPHNE consists of Jon Sonnenberg (TRAVELOGUE, HOUSE OF WIRES) and myself splitting songwriting and vocal duties, but we also have two other synthesizer players to help supplement our live show because we play everything live, no backing tapes.

AI: Will there be any future releases from THE FOXGLOVE HUNT?

RM: Rob (Withem) and I would really love to record another record. The material is there, so it's really a matter of finding a label that's interested in funding the project. FOXGLOVE is close to both of our hearts, so I don't think we ever intended for it to be a one album project. We'd like to pick up where we left off with the EP (BUILT MY FORTRESS), actually.

AI: What is Rob Withem (THE FOXGLOVE HUNT, ex-FINE CHINA) up to now? He’s one of the greatest songwriters in the world, so we must know.

RM: He is undoubtably one of the world's greatest and largely unheard of songwriters. At this point, he's running his company, helping plant a new church in downtown Phoenix, and building up material for future projects like FOXGLOVE.

AI: I remember reading an interview with you for CCM Magazine where you mentioned "perfect pop". A decade later I am still intrigued but have very little idea what you mean. Can "perfect pop" be defined?
RM: I know it means different things to different people, but for me, it just means resolving melodies. So when you hear a song like A-HA's "Take On Me" for example, every note and chord change finishes in a place that settles your mind and excites your heart, in a sense. Or a song like "Titanium" from DAVID GUETTA, to use a more modern example. By the time Sia (the vocalist) finishes singing the word "Titanium", she's resolved the word in it's "perfect" place. And this is why I don't separate songs by genre or artists at all. A good song is a good song if it follows these rules. My opinion, of course.

AI: How do you see yourself as a songwriter? Or in other words, do you think of yourself as a genius like others think of you?

RM: Genius is not a word I'd ever be comfortable attributing to myself. I do think I've written some songs that have a timeless quality to them, in terms of the songwriting involved. That certainly doesn't qualify as genius, but when I think about choruses like "Whose Voice Will Not Be Heard" (from DMA) I feel like I achieved something memorable, in a classic sense. It's hard to talk about your own work without coming off arrogant so I'll leave it at that.

AI: A few years ago you and your family moved from Southern California to Ashland, Ohio to start a church. How is that going?

RM: Well, we actually didn't move to start a church, but that's where we ended up. It's going well so far and I'm loving every minute of it. Major challenges, but we're seeing God's grace more greatly through the difficulties.

AI: So since I got your Ashland story wrong, what brought you to move?

RM: It wasn't entirely wrong. We initially moved to Ashland to be part of another church in the area, but we felt God calling us to plant a couple of years in, so we parted ways. So we actually did move to Ashland to plant a church, but we just didn't know it when we first moved out here.

AI: Has the transition to a leadership role in the church at all changed or affected your music?

RM: I think the ways that God has grown me over the past decade has caused me to see what an idol music had been in my life. I think it's in a healthier place in the sense that it's not my identity like it was in the past. So...good changes, and hopefully changes that will make the music more expansive and less about myself.

Make Some ME TIME.

Andy Ingram

Andy Smith is the leader of ME TIME. He is also one of XL427's biggest fans. Andy Ingram and Andy Smith shared a chat and here is the result. We want to re-run this fun interview in advance of Andy Smith's solo slot at Communivale 2015.

AI: Andy, you are known in Dayton for the many bands you have fronted or spent time in, ANDREW + THE PRETTY PUNCHERS, KINK ELK, and DEAR FAWN. So what brought you to start another band with ME TIME?

AS: Well, I didn't know I was known for being in a bunch of different bands. There was something different going on with each one. ANDREW + THE PRETTY PUNCHERS faded out as quickly as it faded in. It was my first time singing for people and kind of my introduction to music. As the story goes, I got drunk one night at J. Alan's downtown. When I overheard the bartender complaining that they had a band cancel for the upcoming Saturday show, I told him that I'd play it, even though I didn't have a band. I called some of my closet friends and, sure enough, that Saturday we played as Andrew and the Pretty Punchers. We just kept playing after that because we clicked so well. We stopped playing because of life. My cousin Kevin, who played lead guitar, was getting married. My buddy Greg (rhythm guitar, piano) was in school at OSU, and Josh, on bass, was going to be moving to Brooklyn. KING ELK also just kind of ran it's course. I was getting pretty rotten drunk all the time, and it just wasn't an enjoyable situation after a while. DEAR FAWN was fun as shit for me, but that was Tifani's (Tanaka) baby and she wanted to be less rocking. And I can't drum very well. So I started ME TIME as a recording project with some guys from my previous efforts and, like the rest of the bands, it just sort of snowballed. We've hit a hot streak. Basically the long and short of it is, I can't shut up. No matter what happens with the people I'm playing with I can't stop writing songs. I love everybody I've played with over the years, but I just can't stop when I don't have a band. I keep writing and I've been fortunate enough to be able to find great friends to keep playing with me.

AI: Me Time Vol.1 releases soon. Who recorded and played on the album? And who is playing live with you?

AS: Me Time Vol. 1 is being released May 10 at Canal Public House in Dayton. The main ME TIME band is me (songs/ singing/ guitar), Kyle Melton (lead guitar), Josh Wickersham (bass), and Elliot Ward (drums). Tyler Bellinger (KING ELK, BABE ALERT) played some organ and piano. Kent Montgomery (THE NEW OLD FASHIONED) sang harmonies with me. And Derl Robbins (MOTEL BEDS) played the guitar solo on "Baby, It's Me" and mixed and mastered the EP. The initial recordings were done by Kyle in his basement that he refers to as The Whole. When we play live it's Kyle, Josh, Elliot, and myself.

AI: Your songwriting has always had a 50's-style aesthetic to it. Me Time seems to make that more obvious with the structure, guitar tones, and way more reverb than I remember. Is there a certain reason for that style?

AS: I love that you hear that 50's aesthetic. There is a reason for it- that's where my heart is. If I had it my way I would be Del Shannon or Curtis Mayfield fronting The Impressions. Melody is everything to me, with passion being a close second. Those old love songs, from Motown, Stax, and even the bubblegum stuff, just move me like nothing else. Now along the way I've picked up a love for folk, country, and indie rock, but that 50's/early-60's influence has never left. I mean seriously, listen to Lou Christie sing "Lightnin' Strikes" and try not to get goosebumps on the chorus. That shit is hot. Huge chorus! Mad Passion! (Side note: Del Shannon is one of my Top 3 most underrated songwriters of all time. He has 15 songs I'm mad I didn't write.)

AI: Who is releasing Me Time Vol.1 and what hopes do you have for it?

AS: Gas Daddy Go is releasing the ME TIME EP. It's a no brainer. I play with Kyle. Don (Thrasher) is the best dude ever. They do good work. I just hope people dig it and sing it to themselves when they wake up in the morning and think "why is this in my head?" while they're brushing their teeth. The week after the release show, May 10, we're going back to The Whole to do another EP and a possible 7" single. This year will be my busiest year of recording and performing.

Getting to Know Jack Legg.

Andy Ingram

Jack Legg recently started the CHAMPION CITY COMEDY SHOWCASE in Springfield, Ohio. The May 10 edition stars Brian Million along with Jack and other local comedians. Jack answered some questions that Andy Ingram was pondering and like all things with Jack, the answers branch out everywhere. (Editor's note: This show and interview took place in 2014. The interview was great but the show, mostly the venue, was really wierd. The showcase lasted one night.)

AI: Mr. Jack Legg, you are a biblical scholar and pastor and social activist. What got you in to also writing and performing comedy routines?

JL: I think comedy serves a few different purposes. First, it is fun. Plain and simple, it is fun. I grew up in a faith tradition that seemed to emphasize solemnity and seriousness over frivolity and fun. Laughter breaks the curse. When you live in the midst of a broken world, when you inhabit a space that is scarred and distorted, laughter doesn't fit. It is somewhat otherworldly. Joy and mirth and laughter... these are acts of rebellion against the powers of darkness. By laughing and having fun, we are reclaiming a bit of the good creation God intended. Second, humor, at its best, can speak truth against evil. By mocking or making fun of something, you claim mastery over it. For example, I have done an entire stand-up set on pornography. I took an aspect of this world that plays a part in imprisoning people and keeping them in bondage, and I made fun of it. It was silly and fun, but it also took something some people find big and scary and turned it into the butt of the joke. Using satire is also a great way to speak against something evil or unjust while also getting a laugh.

AI: Are there similarities between pastoring and comedy or is that just inviting cheap shots from the skeptics?

JL: I will say that I learned more about preaching from stand up comedians than I ever learned from other preachers. I do not mean I learned theology from comics . . . but I did learn to communicate. You can have the strongest, deepest, most impressive body of theological knowledge in the world, but what good does that do you if you don't know how to connect with people? In a comedy club, you hit the stage cold with nothing but a microphone, and you have five minutes to connect with the crowd. If you can preach, you may be able to do stand up; but if you can do stand up, you can definitely preach. In fact, Sam Kinison (politically incorrect comedian and noted screamer) started out as a Pentecostal pastor before he switched to comedy. A good pastor must be able to form a relationship with people, synthesize big ideas into digestible thoughts, and communicate truth clearly. A good comedian should do all that, and get laughs.

AI: You have started a monthly comedy showcase in Springfield, why?

JL: Because I want more stage time! Well, that, and I love the art form so much I want to see it thrive in my neighborhood. There is also somewhat of a nostalgic piece to the whole thing because I performed stand-up comedy for the first time here in Springfield back in 2010. That show does not exist anymore, but it gave me my start.

AI: What are the details for this comedy showcase?

JL: Right now, we are having the show at Ruby's Pub in downtown Springfield. The show is the second Saturday of each month at 8:30 PM. Each show features several local comedians (from Dayton, Springfield, and Columbus). We are called the Champion City Comedy Showcase. We may branch out to other venues for other shows, or change the frequency of shows based on popularity.

AI: Have there been any famous comics to come from Springfield?

JL: Jonathan Winters was a Springfield native! He was born in Bellbrook, but spent much of his life here in the Champion City. Winters was a brilliant stand up comedian who was known for his quick wit and capacity for improvisation. He recorded numerous comedy albums (which he won Grammys for), starred in television shows and movies, and even voiced Papa Smurf in the beloved cartoon series. Sadly, Winters passed away last year... but I think he would approve of the comedy showcase.

AI: The cliche is that good comedians are just overcompensating for some emotional baggage in their upbringing, what's your story?

JL: Interesting. All of us have emotional baggage, so I am sure that figures into it somehow. Personally, I think the best humor comes from places of pain and anxiety. I have told secrets on stage at comedy clubs that I have not told anywhere else. Such as the time I got caught looking at "inappropriate websites" at a Christian college, or my startling lack of athletic ability, or even stupid things I have done in the past. I am working on some material now all about terrible things I have done. There is something transformative about taking painful things from the past and converting them into laughter.

AI: You are performing stand-up right now, what other comedic formats do you enjoy or see yourself getting in to?

JL: I like to write satire whenever possible. I have done some acting in minor roles and a tiny bit of improv. I could see myself doing some more of those things, or even playing a role in producing some videos or movies.