Members: Andrea Simler-DeGolier; vocals, lyrics; Jeff Conner, bass, backing vocals; Patrice, cello, keyboard, backing vocals; Bill Menke, guitar; Mark Szabo, guitar; Steve Klosinski, drums
Latest project: full length debut “Cedric”
Sound like: alternative hard rock with flourishes of goth and metal
Additional album fact: Cover art features local fire blower Lindsay “Vega” Wildt
Heavy alt-rockers Chakras are poised to release their debut album, “Cedric,” with a show this weekend.
Last year when the band was working on the album, guitarist Bill Menke’s son was diagnosed with a brain tumor, said lead singer Andrea Simler-DeGolier, so they decided to dedicate the album to him and name it for him as well.
The band, says Simler-DeGolier, was very much inspired by Cedric and his family during the difficult period. Cedric is past the critical stage, but his recovery continues.
Simler-DeGolier spoke with us about the band, the album and playing acoustic at Hot Topic.
Many of your songs touch upon dark or taboo subject matter, will that be an overriding theme on your album as well?
Well, our music is, you know, it’s influenced by some hard rock backgrounds, but we also take an ethereal route on some of our music as well. We kind of like the combination and the juxtaposition of the heavy and the beautiful.
Does it bother you that some label you as goth music based on the band’s appearance?
We get that association, but I would really call us more rock or hard rock with moments or influences of goth or metal. The only reason that I don’t like to tag us as goth is because, you know, there is a very specific tag in the industry for goth rock, and we’re not necessarily that. I don’t mean to be indecisive, but our sound is more (varied).
The local music scene seems to be very blues/garage/Americana dominated. Where do you fit in to all of that and where do you draw your fan base from?
We play predominantly Southgate House, Madison Theater and Mad Hatter. You know you’re right, locally, I think the sound is more indie rock, definitely blues and folk. So you know, locally, where do we fit in? I think basically we build a lot of our own shows because I don’t feel that we fit into any specific genre locally. We tend to go towards the rock or hard rock. When Mad Hatter maybe will call us for a show, or the Madison Theater, they’ll put us on a bill with more of the harder edged locals. We’ve played with Rosemary Device, Noctaluca – that’s a little more hard rock.
You guys are playing a show at Hot Topic. Have you ever done that before and what will it be like?
Basically what we wanted to do as we ramped up to our release show on June 4, we wanted to do as many in-stores as possible. It’s just a really great avenue to get yourself out there to people who would not necessarily know your name or come to see you. But sometimes when they see you in an in-store setting, you get a handful of new fans. And it’s also really great because maybe younger people can’t get into the venues because of their ages, but they can come out to an in-store.
You do these shows acoustically, so how does that work out?
We LOVE doing the acoustic because it’s such a different sense that the songs take on a new identity, I think. You can kind of hear all instrumentation in a different form. It’s definitely more of a mellow, chilled out emotion. The songs are kind of dark, or some of them are kind of dark, so it’s interesting to play them in an acoustic, kind of more beautiful light, especially the heavier ones.?
What do you do about keyboards then?
We don’t. Patrice focuses on the cello, which is amazing. The cello adds such a beautiful timbre to it all.
Are you going to be picking up anything extra when you’re at Hot Topic, maybe a Twilight T-shirt?
I don’t know about Twilight T-shirts, maybe something crazy for the release party or something.