We were looking for something original and ran through a couple of ideas. One day Dave (our drummer) came to practice and suggested that we call ourselves Halimede, after a retrograde satellite which orbits Neptune, which is said to have an eccentric orbit. Halimede also happens to be the name of a Greek Nymph, which works; we can all get down with the eccentric and oceanic reference.
2. How did this band get started?
David Chetkin and Sarah Al-Mulla met through craigslist as she replied to an ad he posted for a female singer/songwriter. They started playing music together, just shooting through ideas. He heard some demos that she had previously recorded and really liked them so they decided to work on a handpicked few. Once the songs were ready to start recording, they went into Mambo Sound and Recording, in Long Beach, CA, with Wade Wilkinson at the engineering helm, to track the piano, vocals and percussions, as they were out of a guitarist and bassist. As the recording process progressed, Wade decided to join our humble group of two, as our bassist. Mark Cox, a long time friend of Wade’s, then joined our band as guitarist, completing our foursome of awesomeness.
3. What bands are you influenced by?
We are essentially influenced by whatever we are currently listening to, be it Regina Spektor, The Beatles, Aimee Mann, Amanda Palmer, Phillip Glass, Bob Dylan, John Legend, Nora Jones, The Doors, Fiona Apple, Clint Mansell and the list goes on. Each of us in the band come from a very different background and have been influenced and inspired by a plethora of musical talents, thus it might be better said that we are influenced by great music in general. Ultimately, we love playing what we love to hear, so we make sounds that make us happy.
4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Of course the classic list of The Doors, Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin. Music was such a different state of being at that time. It’s fun to think of all the craziness that would be happening both on and off stage. Currently, Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra would be a great band to tour with. They have such a great energy as a group and as individual performers. Each member is infinitely talented and artistic in such a distinctive unparalleled way that when they come together they provide a unique art music experience.
5. Best food to eat on tour?
Any food that doesn’t come out of a microwave or paper bag. Though, we are all quite partial to beef jerky, so that might have to be our number 1 answer.
6. Why should people listen to your band?
We are creating original music that we believe in, and refuse to be influenced to change our style or creative process in order to fit neatly in any specific genre or category. Like we said, we play what we like hearing and enjoy doing so, hopefully you do as well.
7. If you could be any athlete, which athlete would you switch places with?
Hmmm, we collectively don’t follow sports that much, though Wade does enjoy watching Lakers games. Mark likes football but isn’t an overly obsessive fan. As per Sarah and Dave, we don’t really watch sports so we don’t really have any answer for that. Ultimately, I guess we’d all prefer to be musicians, and thus would probably steer clear of the switching places machine entirely.
8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?
We would all thank our friends/families and fans that supported and believed in us enough to spread the word about our music, and putting us in a position where we were able to quit our day jobs to play some great music for them. That said, we can’t wait till we are able to call playing music with Halimede our day job.
9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
The music industry has steered more towards people who possess more entertainment value than talent. The craft of songwriting and the art of performing powerful and deeply moving songs has been left on the wayside, traded for songs about people shaking their asses, repeating the same lyrics. We think music should be more about an intrinsic connection to the listener, through melody and verse, rather than a spectacle with fireworks and shotty writing, just because it’s in the budget.
10. Memorable tour experience?
We have yet to launch a full-fledged tour, as we all need to pay the bills and thus are stuck having to work. However, we are planning on scheduling a small tour as soon as the resources are available. So, if there are any listeners out there that would like to help support our cause, we welcome you with open arms!
11. What does AP.net mean to you?
AP.net is a community of people who love creating and listening to music. It is imperative that we have a place to hold discussions about independent musicians, in order to open dialogue and raise awareness for new music projects. Without having such communities, independent music won’t get farther than your practice studio.
12. What is your favorite song to play?
We are currently working on a new song, which we are referring to as “Awee,” a real title is pending. It is fun to play and upbeat, so we’re really into that right now, as we are trying to get all our roles defined. We also love playing our song “Wasting Away,” which is the most upbeat song on our album C/O A Conscience. This song is always fun to play because it’s got a slight Aimee Mann flavored pop feel, paired with depressing lyrics, a match made in heaven.
13. What is your vacation spot of choice?
We all have different ideas on this, however, Hawaii, Ireland, Germany and Italy would definitely be on the list.
14. What music reminds you of your childhood?
Well, we all had very different childhoods. Sarah was born and raised in Dubai, UAE, so her memories mostly lie in the strange juxtaposition of Arabic music, Sade, Kenny G and Boyz II Men. Dave lists The Beatles, The Doors, Led Zepplin, Genesis, Bob Dylan, Jefferson Airplane, Donovan, and Jimi Hendrix, as he was in grade school when they were all big. Wade says “when I hear Argent’s ‘Hold Your Head Up,’ or The Hollies ‘Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress,’ I’m reminded of coming home after a surf session in my youth.” As per Mark he cites Led Zepplin, The Doors and Tchaikovsky as music that takes him back to childhood.
15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?
Flying would be a great super power to possess. You’d get anywhere you needed, or wanted to go, a lot faster, you’d never be afraid of falling, which then relieves the fear of heights.
16. Any pre-show superstitions or rituals?
We all just relax and get amped to play well and have fun. I, Sarah, usually have a lot of pre-performance anxiety, so the relaxing before the show mostly consists of Wade, Mark and Dave saying nice things to me in an attempt to comfort me so that I’ll have fun. That said, I really need to come up with a pre-show ritual to calm myself down and relieve the guys.
17. What is something that most fans don't know about you?
At this point we are expanding our fan base, so fans don’t know much about us in general, which is why we love talking to people at shows, and doing interviews like this, so that we can connect with potential fans on a personal level.
18. What is your assessment of the current state of radio? Do you think it's a place where your band could flourish?
Commercial radio plays a lot of music that is lacking in substance. That is not to say that all the music on the radio is just bells and whistles, however, the importance of highlighting a diverse group of independent artists is often overlooked. That said, there are stations such as KCRW, based in Santa Monica, CA, whose primary focus is music discovery and raising awareness of great, well written, and well produced music. Thus, there is ample opportunity for any band to flourish, but it takes a lot of hard work, dedication and time, as there is so much impressive music out there, just waiting to be heard.
19. What do you like to do in your spare time?
We each have our own personality specific hobbies we indulge in our spare time. Wade is an avid surfer, Mark is quite the talented chef and loves cooking, and Dave loves collecting music, so he spends a lot of time researching and finding rare recordings and obscure live performances. Lastly, Sarah does a lot of writing and enjoys supporting local theatre. Though, with promoting the album and Halimede our free time has considerably dwindled.
20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?
Dave can tap dance, which was a surprise as we didn’t know that until this moment. He states that he also played guitar for a year, which none of us have heard as of yet, we may have to get him to show us what he’s got. Sarah is a mixed media artist, and also says she can juggle, but only three items, preferable of the same size, and not for very long. Wade has always considered himself a jack of all trades, but a master of none, so I suppose his hidden talent would be that he can do almost anything proficiently. Lastly, Mark’s hidden talent is his impressive culinary skills, which we all reap the benefits of when he has us over for dinner.