I had the absolute pleasure of chatting with Koby Blake, the lead vocalist and guitarist for southwest Nebraska indie electro-punk outfit Homemade Crazy. I spoke with Koby about the band's new album, "Synergy", the writing process, and more. Check it out!
How did the band originally come about? Initially, who approached who?
Well the thing is, me and Aaron, the bass player, and Max our drummer, actually were in a band called Kaleidoscope Eyes, years ago. We had a record, we played shows, and all kinds of stuff like that. Anyways, the band kind of dispersed. There was about a year and a half gap where none of us really talked to each other because it was all kind of bad blood, type of stuff. We just weren’t getting along. I had actually been playing a lot of solo shows by myself, just with my acoustic guitar, playing old songs and my original stuff. I had a closing spot at a local donut shop. The owner is really cool; there’s all kinds of bands that he brings in. You’d play, get your professional picture on the wall, all sweet stuff.
Anyways, there was a few bands, and I was closing, and there was two bands in front of me, and I was just like “Damn! I’m going to get up there with just my acoustic guitar, and these guys have got bands and I’m supposed to close it.” So I called Aaron, and asked him if we wanted to come a play a little bass with me. It had been a few months since I had talked to him and it was all good. We were still tight. He was willing to. At the time, he was dating, and still is dating, our keytar player Breezy Ortega. He said, “let’s get Breezy to fill in a little keys on it!” We jammed together for a week or so, and we had this sweet little set. Then Max Kugler, out of nowhere, came back from college. He’s been one of my childhood friends; I’ve known him since I was a baby, and he’s a drummer! I said “yeah, we’ve got this show in a week.” He came in and learned our nine songs that we had for the set, and that’s how it went. Now we’re Homemade Crazy.
Where does the title of the new album “Synergy” come from?
You know, “Synergy”… if you look it up in the dictionary, in Layman’s terms, is when groups of bodies get together, working on the same project. But instead of doing it separately as competition, it’s two bodies working on the same thing, which always is better than one. That’s what it was with our band. The whole band is different walks of life, personalities, musical genres, and styles, and that’s kind of how we got “Synergy.” It was just going to be “Homemade Crazy”, but we were looking through the dictionary, trying to find the good stuff, and that kind of matched what we were doing. That’s pretty much how “Synergy” happened.
Tell me a little bit about the writing process for “Synergy”.
That’s a long story in itself. After our old band broke up, I started playing by myself. The song “Timebomb” is not a single on our record, but it was the first song that I wrote in a long time. I mean, the opening line to it is “I haven’t written a song in a long, long, long time.” But anyways, it’s just… I had been going through a tough divorce. I have two kids. Things can get wild sometimes. I hadn’t written songs in a while. I was trying to almost not do the music thing anymore, at the time. I had this big PA system, and a bunch of dusty old guitars. One day, I just started writing again. Some pretty seriously emotional songs came out of it. “Timebomb” and our first single, that was premiered on ArtistDirect.com, “Only A Memory”. Breezy added a totally different element to the sound. I’m kind of like 90s punk rock, grunge-orientated, and Breezy’s got this electro sound. Aaron’s a space cadet, Max is just a wild frickin’ drummer. I call him Mr. Dynamics because he can play to anything. He knows exactly how to hit a drum. He’s a percussion genius.
That’s how it came together. Breezy brought some crazy different songs. We’re completely different writers. She’s good about being narrative and coming up with these things that use a lot of metaphors. I am a completely direct about my life. If you know me and are around me, you know what the songs’s about. You know the situation I’m talking about. I’m that type of writer. I’m not that good at making up fairy tales in songs, you know? But pretty much, it all came together. We all needed it, and it all came together. The songwriting for “Synergy”… I’m proud of it. And everyone who listens to it seems to relate to the songs. We’re just going from there and trying to build it as it goes.
When did the first single, “Only A Memory” come into play?
Well, it was one of the first songs we ever wrote. We actually recorded it ourselves, just through this little interface. We recorded a few of our songs that way. We had been playing these songs just in our small local area for months. Then we finally wanted to record. But “Only A Memory” was a really serious song for me. I actually had a very hard time writing it. It really touches home base. Lots of people can relate to it. Homemade Crazy shows are always good times and good vibes, but I do have people that come up to me after the show and go “Man, that song… I can relate to it! I know what you’re talking about!” I love that. That’s what I’m into and that’s why I write. I have a bad time talking to people, but when I write, it kind of opens up everything.
I had been thumbing around with it on my acoustic. I just had this general idea of these base lyrics. Once the band started, and had percussion, bass, and keyboard and effects, I thought that this song could turn into something really epic. And that’s what it did. It’s got a big breakdown at the end with Breezy going wild on the keyboard. I’m pouring my heart out.
I love that Nirvana fire, so I try to portray stuff like that too. It’s just a different song, and a really serious song.
What kind of message would you like fans to walk away with after listening to your music?
You know, there’s lots of different mixed emotions and messages in music, and my music. Take some stuff to heart, don’t take it all. It’s kind of like…the record for me, a lot of the writing, I felt like I waited too long to get the ball rolling on some things in my life. I ended up letting it waste away. That’s kind of what the record “Synergy” is about, in a way. It’s really fun too, it’s a fun record! But there’s still some serious stuff on it.
The message is just to stay positive. I do talk about drinking and partying, and having a good time. Everyone can relate to that. The record is about real life, and that’s everybody’s business. I think that’s about as good of a message that I could give. I’m just like everybody else. I hope everybody wants to listen to my music like I want to listen to theirs. Give it a chance, and we’ll give you a chance, you know?
What does music mean to you?
It’s everything to me. It’s therapeutic to me. I have a really hard time expressing my opinions and views to other people, because I never want to create conflict. Music to me is like a counselor. My guitar is my psychiatrist, you know? (laughs) I’m patient. I’m just dying to get whatever I can out of me, and it makes me feel better. I live for live shows. I move, and I don’t stop moving, and I feel like I’ve got the rhythm in my soul. I give it my all. That’s what music is for me.
It’s not only an escape, but it’s a career and a life, and a lifestyle. Without it, I’d just be some butcher in Nebraska. It’s definitely a ticket out of here, I hope.
Other than the release of the album tomorrow, what are the future plans for Homemade Crazy?
Just stay tuned, and stay crazy for Homemade Crazy! We are coming to your town. I think next month, we are going to hit up Minneapolis and Chicago, places around there. January 2015, right after Christmas, we are heading out on a tour. Give us a Facebook like, leave us a message, go to our website, we’re everywhere. If you want us bad enough, we WILL come. We want to play for everybody, that is our goal. You’re all our friends, and we are your fans. That’s what keeps us on the road.
Homemade Crazy's new album, "Synergy", is available now!
This has been another Shameless Promotion.