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The Boobies, originating from North Carolina and Texas, are Andrew Jernigan (Ace) on drums & backing vocals, Jesse Starr on bass & backing vocals, Joshua Brocki (Josh) on lead vocals & rhythm guitar and Manquillian Minniefee (Manq) on lead guitar & vocals. I was fortunate to meet the band in New York City this summer after their Bowery Electric gig and hear what they have to say about the music industry, what inspires them and the most challenging aspect of their work.
XETH: At what age did you start to take an interest in the ﬁeld you work in?
Andrew: After a few “jam sessions”, complete with six packs of Tecate and Budweiser, we were hooked on our collaboration and the original music that we were creating out of our different tastes in genre. We were discovering our own sound, our own energy, and after our ﬁrst show in east Bushwick at the since closed Goodbye Blue Monday, we found that our music attracted our friends as well as walk-ins from the street. So the momentum was set and we started this band.
Jesse: I was 12 when I saw Mark Harshﬁeld play a guitar solo in the talent show at my elementary school. He was wearing a Winnie the Pooh costume and played with his mouth. It was awesome and it inspired me to pick up the guitar.
Josh: I started making songs when I was teenager. I would have melodies in my head and would write out lyrics to them even though I couldn’t play an instrument at the time. I ended up getting into poetry and performing live readings in my local coffee shops
Manq: I knew I wanted to play music when my dad showed me a video tape of The Talking Heads “Stop Making Sense” tour. I wanted to play the drums and my mom got me a practice pad for Christmas which was not satisfying for me. When I was about 12 or 13 years old I ﬁnally picked up a guitar and learned and had an older kid teach me how to play “Wild Thing”. It felt so good to play a song. The rest was history.
X: What’s your proudest achievement so far?
A: The biggest thrill is gaining clout in the competitive circle of musicians and venues in the NYC area. The reaction to The Boobies has consistently been one of excitement, and for those who hear us for the ﬁrst time, seeing their surprise and ﬁnding their support at future shows gives us fuel to make more music and broaden our audience as much as possible.
Je: Although it has yet to be achieved I am super proud of the record we’re about to release. It took a ton of effort by a lot of amazing people to prepare us for these latest tracks.
Jo: This band.
M: Honestly, I’m most proud of how far this band has come. We’re writing songs that we’re proud of and traction.
X: What’s the most challenging aspect of your work?
A: “Mo’ money, mo’ problems”. With ﬁnancial support, we are now building an album, buying a van, developing merchandise and branding, and working towards a touring schedule. The Boobies are a small business and we are beholden to more people than just ourselves. Figuring out that transition from musicians to business people has been a challenge and a learning experience for us. But we got this.
Je: Other work is the most challenging aspect of the work I do with The Boobies. Piecing together 4 different schedules is tough.
Jo: I have a habit of trashing songs before they come to their fruition because I lose interest or I just get stuck. I’m learning to have patience with the work.
M: Learning how the music industry works has been a challenge. I think we all got into this for the love of writing, playing and performing and the general love for the music. We’ve found that the industry isn’t always about the music or the performance. It’s tough balancing what we love about what we do and why we do it in the ﬁrst place, and what is necessary to further our career in the industry without sacriﬁcing our integrity as musicians ﬁrst and business men second. That’s deﬁnitely been a challenge.
What are your top three favourite songs to listen to when on tour?
Je: I enjoy listening to music on repeat but that list is ever-changing. So at the moment my top 3 are Fingerprints by Hiatus Kaiyote, Easy Money by King Crimson and Rae Sremmurd by Black Beatles Ft. Gucci Mane.
What is your favourite music venue and why?
All: Rockwood Music Hall – Lower East Side, NYC. We’ve played a multitude of shows here, including New Year’s Eve 2016 and 2017. Rockwood has consistently been one of our biggest supporters, from their sound team, to the bartenders, to ol’ Ken Rockwood himself. Their stage boasts vibrant red walls, two levels of audience, three stages, and a ﬁnessed sound system to boot.
Name three creatives who have inspired you over the past 10 years?
Je: The politician Bernie Sanders proved that anything is possible, even when navigating a broken industry. The writer Tom Robbins is my favorite author and I self-medicate with his prose. The musician Adrian Belew and his ability to blend pop and progressive rock has helped me deﬁne my approach to writing music.
M: Gary Clarke Jr. is an amazing guitarist. Taking rock n’ roll to a place that was lost in the grunge and indie ﬂood that came from the 90’s and early 2000’s. Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong have always been a great study for me as far as chord arrangement and creative melody lines (I know that’s two but I’m putting them together as one). And the ﬁrst two Kings of Leon albums just remind me that if it ain’t fun and if it don’t feel good, then what’s the point.
Have you got any exciting projects coming up in the near future?
A: We are dangerously close to our debut album, currently titled One Night Stand. We’ve been working on it for almost a year, and feel the hunger to get it out there. The studio roughs themselves sound amazing.
Je: I just received a text that we purchased a van, so installing a mini fridge and disco ball is the next exciting project.
If you weren’t musicians what other careers would you have chosen?
A: Film and Video
Je: Eating from the trash and drinking from the toilet
Jo: Bartending by the beach
M: I think I would have gone into some sort of ﬁeld related to anthropology. One of the reasons I love writing songs and then performing them is I like seeing how different chord combos and feels are received by an audience. I think I would enjoy studying people and the things that affect them culturally and socially and why. So yeah.
What advice would you give to younger people who want to work in the music industry?
A: Find musicians that you like to work with and who’s speciﬁc set of skills you admire. Ourselves, we’re a rag tag team of musicians, artists and performers, with different talents that balance out our supposed weaknesses. Then get lucky and ﬁnd a manager who believes in your unique voice rather than one that tries to shape you into another numb nut in the music industry.
Je: Be honest, humble, outstanding, and don’t be an asshole or take things personally.
Jo: Be honest and fuck up. That’s the best way to make a story.
M: If you want to be a musician then be a musician and believe in what you do and don’t compromise your integrity. If you want to be a business man then be a business man and believe in your product. If you can manage to be both then balance the integrity of both sides. I’ve only had a tiny nibble of the music industry and it’s already bafﬂing. I would say make your own music industry. Make your own community of likeminded musicians and producers and engineers and creatives. Create your own buzz. Your own hype. Don’t rely on record deals from the multibillion dollar business. Look for the record labels that are in it for the music not the money. And stay away from the cocaine.
For more information and tour dates, visit We Are The Boobies
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