Strange Mechanics has been bringing their funky, soulful tunes to the stage since forming in 2013.
From their live electronica and guitar solos to their vocal harmonies, the 5-piece jam band including members Meecis Davis, Bobby Kuhlenberg, Rory Cooper, Tyler Magnarini and Brian Johnson, has created a truly unique sound.
Check out the band for yourself below in an exclusive performance of “Fly,” then read on for a Q&A with the band to learn more!
Video shot and produced by Alex Thocker.
Q&A with Strange Mechanics
How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?
RORY: I’ve known most of the band for 4 or 5 years from being around the music scene.
Meecis: We are from the same part of town and most of us know each other from school or mutual acquaintances.
BRIAN: Most of us went to high school together. I’ve known Bob since elementary school and Meecis since I was probably 15 or 16. Met Tyler through some friends after high school and met Rory through the scene when Strange Mechanics first started playing together. That was before he joined of course when he was in ethosine.
When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?
Meecis: About 3 or 4 years ago. We all have different inspirations to play music, that’s a part of what brought us together.
RORY: I joined in later when the band was in need of replacement guitar player. I really liked the sound the band was creating and enjoyed the music they had been putting out so when the opportunity arose I really wanted to join in and be a part of it.
BRIAN: 2013ish. We all decided to make music together because it was something we all shared a passion for and we all generally liked the same type of music. It started out as just something to do with friends like playing video games or basketball but turned into this.
What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?
BRIAN: Progressive Funk Jam. My major influences are Phish, James Brown, Earth Wind and Fire, Lettuce, Dopapod, Marcus Miller, Nas and believe it or not, Pantera.
Meecis: Progressive funk. We all have vastly different influences that’s what makes us who we are.
RORY: Funk / Jam / Boogie. Pink Floyd, Phish, Grateful Dead, Lettuce, Cheese
BOB: I consider our music to be Progressive funk. I also like to bring in other styles of music 2 break that up. Phish, Steely Dan, Beatles, Zeppelin, lovin spoonful.
How would you describe your sound?
Meecis: Groovy funky rock n roll
RORY: Jammy w/ a funky twist
TYLER: Jam/improv with a funk emphasis.
BRIAN: Jammy progressive space funk
Could you briefly describe your music-making process?
BRIAN: Usually Bob or I come to the band with a song or a riff and it develops from there, or Bob and I will get together outside of practice and develop a blueprint of sorts for a song and let others fill in their ideas. Lately more songs have been brought to the table by other members which is awesome. Some of my favorites to play right now are Rory and Tyler songs. Regardless of who brings the idea the basic process is the same. A trial and error of sorts.
Meecis: Bj, Bob, rory, or Tyler bringing an idea to the band whether it be An entire song or just a riff, then I kick a beat on it. Then we elaborate or simplify from there.
TYLER: Usually one of us comes up with a riff or a rough idea of a song and brings it to the band. We then work together to sharpen that idea into something that works best for everyone; band and audience included. It is no singular task. We all have a say.
BOB: When we write new music it depends a lot on who brings the idea. Some of us are more thorough in writing before bringing that piece to the band. Others of us are happy to bring a short idea and let the band expound upon it. We Embrace both types of writing.
How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?
TYLER: Harmonies. Vocal and instrumental alike. We have also expanded way past the traditional 3-4 chord progressions that a lot of bands tend to get in a rut with. Escaping that cycle truly gives us ultimate musical freedom.
What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
TYLER: For me, the biggest challenge as a band is getting together regularly. We try to rehearse 2-3 times weekly (not including shows). For five people who all have regular jobs, girlfriends, or other interests, it can be difficult.
RORY: I think this is more or less likely a challenge for most bands but…. everyone has their own idea in their mind about what the band and the songs should sound like. The challenge is to get those individual ideas to mesh and form a new, mutual band idea or sound. When that happens you get something that’s not quite what each individual expected but hopefully better bc of the combination of everyone’s ideas and influences.
Best compliment you’ve ever received as a band?
BRIAN: The lead singer of Molly Hatchet once told us “A lot of people try and play funk but god damn you guys make me wanna hump something” which was pretty cool.
TYLER: “You guys Fucking rock”
BOB: Someone told me I sounded like the singer from Steely Dan
What do you guys like to do in your spare time?
BRIAN: Hang with the girlfriend. I play a lot of video games, been on that Pokemon Moon and Final Fantasy 15 lately. I sit around and play a whole lot of bass, learning new techniques and styles, lately I’ve been sitting in with the Rumpke Mountain boys off and on when they play at Stanley’s every Tuesday, which has been fun. I go see live music all the time, basically every night of the week that I am not busy.
TYLER: I enjoy reading fiction. Imagination is limitless and I like to take a stroll through other people’s vision.
BOB: In my spare time I enjoy practicing guitar reading books doing yoga practicing jiu jitsu and also working outside
What’s the most bizarre thing to happen while you were onstage?
TYLER: Girls dressed as cats dancing on and off stage.
MEECIS: Dropping Bob’s guitar at Laniakea festival when I was playing guitar and singing on a song.
BOB: The most bizarre thing to happen to me while on stage is when Meecis’ dropped my guitar while I was on drums! We were performing Mary Jane.
Do you guys have anything big/exciting coming up (new album, big shows, etc.)?
BRIAN: We have lots of shows coming up as well as a decent amount of traveling. In the coming months we will be hitting Columbus, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Bloomington, Pennsylvania, as well as hitting up some festivals all around the Midwest. We’re also in the works of lining up some Chicago shows and maybe a Midwest tour.
What are your goals for the future?
BRIAN: To be able to do this for the rest of my life with these guys. It’s the most fun I have ever had. I want to play every day of the week with them.
TYLER: Collectively I think our goal is to make this band a permanent and providing thing. We all want this to be our full time job. We all want this art to last. Who wouldn’t like to get paid for their passion?
MEECIS: Trying to branch out, gain larger fan base. Tour.
BOB: Our goals for the future are to continue making beautiful music together. We would also like to produce another album soon. We would like to tour. We would like to help the world.
Where can fans listen to your music?
Now for some fun stuff…
BRIAN: Spinach + Feta cheese with maybe some bacon. Red sauce optional.
TYLER: Extra cheese. Can’t mess with a classic
MEECIS: Every Pizza
BOB: Pineapple and bacon and extra cheese
Favorite word? Least favorite?
TYLER: Favorite word: pizza. Least favorite: Pterodactyl
MEECIS: Yes. No.
BOB: My favorite word is remarkable. You cannot be wrong using that word. My least favorite is “can’t.”
Favorite knock-knock joke?
BRIAN: Knock knock. Who’s There? A broken pencil. A broken pencil who? Never mind its pointless. Or: Knock knock. Who’s there? Doris. Doris who? Doris locked that’s why I am knocking. Or: Knock knock. Who’s there? Yoda Lady. Yoda Lady who? I didn’t know you could yodel.
BOB: Orange you glad I didn’t say banana.
Strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
TYLER: Bob’s cooking.
BRIAN: Cicadas. Yes, cicadas. 8th grade was an odd time in my life.
Which cartoon character do you resemble the most?
BRIAN: Marceline the Vampire Queen from Adventure Time. A dark haired bass playing vampire queen is basically what I already am so this one is easy.
MEECIS: Static Shock
BOB: Johnny Bravo
Worst haircut you’ve ever had?
RORY: I still get it every now and then when I go to the wrong person but the Jim Carrey Dumb & Dumber haircut
TYLER: I shaved my head once. Not so great
MEECIS: What haircut?
BRIAN: I too am wondering what haircut you are talking about….
BOB: The one where my ear got sliced.
Favorite smell? Least favorite?
BRIAN: Coffee. Sex Panther Cologne
RORY : Vanilla. Bob
TYLER: Chai. Lavender
MEECIS: Food. Poo
BOB: Sage, burnt hair mixed with week old urine.
Favorite four-legged creature and why?
TYLER: Cats. Period. You have to earn their respect and affection.
RORY: Panda. Why you ask, well look up any video ever of panda bears.
MEECIS: Dog. Man’s best friend.
BOB: My kitty for loving me.
BRIAN: A duck billed platypus. A mammal that has a duck bill, lays eggs, has webbed feet and is venomous. Seriously the weirdest animals ever, almost like a Frankenstein combination of other animals.