Ladies and Gents, If you have been around the music scene for more than a few years, you recognize the faces in the picture. Looking festive aren’t they? Well, they have a good reason because one week from now Japhy’s Descent will be celebrating FIVE years together as a band. In the sometimes ever changing musical chairs world of being in a band Travis, Martin, Brian and James have been tearing up the local scene together for half a decade. Their high energy shows are something you don’t want to miss, and if you haven’t seen them your opportunity to catch a great show is coming up on Saturday May 21st at Shady Park in Tempe. The enigmatic presence of Travis on lead vocals and guitar pulls everyone into the show while Martin on lead, Brian on Bass and James on drums absolutely tear up the stage with musicality. Their sound can run the gamut from blues, to hard rock, classic rock to psychedelic rock. I’m not kidding when I say you are missing out if you haven’t seen a show. I may be a little biased by the fact that I count all of these guys as personal friends. They have been supportive of every band I have been in, and every fundraising cause I have supported. Ready to learn more about Japhy’s?
Please note that Brian isn’t really that quiet, he was just on a plane back from vacation. 🙂
How did you come together as a band?
M: Travis and I had been playing together for a couple of years with other artists before we found James, and then Brian. Being part of the open mic scene, it’s easy to find other artists that want to jam, experiment, and make music. I believe we all met through ongoing open mic shows at Long Wongs. I remember Brian came to the house for our first practice together and just nailed the few songs we had at the time. He was the last piece of the puzzle and it has been a fun ride ever since!
Give me up to 3 influences on your instrument and a short “why”
M: I started learning to play the guitar to the usual Clapton, Page and Gilmour. But I really think my influences these days come from the feeling of the song. Asking myself “What does the song need, or what does the song want me to do?” There are many times that I love other local musicians jumping up on stage with us and I don’t have to do a guitar solo. It’s all about feeling with me.
J: Carter Beauford, Mike Portnoy, and Buddy Rich. Great music has been made for years and these 3 have great performances throughout their careers and it is to be admired!
Tell me something about the band that no one knows….until now.
M: I have a twin brother and we switch out at random shows to see who notices……
Worst or most embarrassing on stage occurrence for the band or one of you personally.
J: There are many times on stage in which one of the band members gets embarrassed about something. You analyze it, log it in, and keep going..
M: It’s not whats is embarrassing versus what you can’t remember…and If you make the same mistake twice, then its Jazz!
Ok, let’s say each of you never met and you are starting over. You can start a band with any musician. Who is it?
M: Well, probably my twin brother but other than that, Nic from Banana Gun knows that I know his riffs!
T: Probably Martins twin brother!
J: I’m a music whore, so it doesn’t matter.
Talking about songs now, each of you tell me your favorite song of all time.
M: Ship of Fools by World Party T: Clair De Lun by Debussy, Fearless by Pink Floyd, and Flaming Heart by Meat Puppets (Brian wasn’t hear so we are giving Travis extra choices) J: Opus 10 by Archangelo Corelli
Now which song in history do you WISH you would have written?
T: Happy Birthday…Talk about royalties! J: Yellow Submarine M: Where is My Mind by The Pixies. I love that riff and it’s probably my second favorite song behind World Party.
Tell me your favorite song by a LOCAL band.
T: It’s hard to say, We have supported so many favorites over the years and got to work with them on shows and projects. From open mics to shows we’ve hosted there is just so much talent in the Valley!
J: As of right now, Rick Moranis by Wyves
M: Some of my favorites are from bands that are no longer active. Dirty Knees by Palms, Wait by Doctor Bones, Me and my Family vs. The Robots by Mergence, and more. Right now I’d probably have to go with Killing Me, by decker.
Continuing with the Local flavor, whats your favorite place to play and why?
M: My favorite place wherever our next show is! There are too many venues past and present to claim just one. Going on the road and not knowing who you will play to and play with is also very exciting.
J: Anywhere in front of people who have never seen us
T: There is a magic to the unknown (ed. note – I’m seeing a theme here)
Some bands are considered “live” bands. Do you feel you are better live, or on your recorded works?
T: It’s really a different experience. An album is a timestamp, but a live show is timeless. An album is very personal but a live show feeds off the energy of a crowd. I just feel fortunate to be a part of all this.
J: Live is a loaded question. In terms of most (not all) of my recorded work there is only a live take on that particular performance. The fact that it is only one performance means recorded work can get old or stale. I think we are as good live as on recorded media. But each performance, no matter the band is special and needs to be viewed.
Give our readers 3 local bands that our readers need to see and hear.
M: Bear Ghost, Hostile Work Environment, and There is Danger!
T: Sugar Thieves, I.am.Hologram, and Sunset Voodoo..oh, and Boss Frog!
J: All of them! Your musical experience is your own!
One word to describe the local music scene..and GO!
M: Embracing T: Love J: Togetherness
If you could change anything about the local scene, what would it be?
T: KWSS radio reaching Tempe, and more local music on the airwaves
M: I come from the SF and LA scenes where there is too much competition, an after party at the headliner house didn’t include openers. So I wouldn’t change a damn thing about the local scene!
It is now your time to shamelessly promote. What is coming up for you? List everything you can come up with.
All 3: 5 year anniversary show at Shady Park!
Final Thoughts..Anything goes.
Both: Thanks so much for doing all that you do Michael, This is adding to that community based scene that we all appreciate (I promise this answer was not prompted in any way) And we hope to see all of you at the show!
As always, I want to thank the bands every week for taking the time to answer these questions and give us some insight to what makes them tick and to help show how great our music scene really is here in Arizona. Thank you Japhy’s Descent, and I will see you out there at shows!
Here are some ways to find Japhy’s Descent out there in cyberspace and a sample of what you can expect at a show!