Hello good people, welcome aboard! As I was starting my day today I got an email from Universal about how EMINEM premiered his new single “Rap God” – CLICK HERE! It got me thinking about how far Eminem came from being an underground emcee from Detroit, MI with all odds against him and how he rose to the top. People often forget how this man had to work & grind for years before getting the big break. There is a lot to appreciate and can be learned from his story. Today I got a young group also from MI who are working hard to get their own big break by the name Calcaska. I became a fan after hearing the single “Surrender.” Join me today as we chat with Jeff about the US government being closed, plans for a new EP this year or 2014, growing up and living in Flint, MI, and much more!
Stoli: Where are we talking from today and are you ready for the cold Michigan winter?
Jeff: I am currently sitting in my home studio where we do all of our demos. We are 15 minutes from the downtown portion of lovely Flint, Michigan. You have to be ready for winter up here, it was 84 degrees last week and 60 this week, we get there quickly.
Stoli: The US government has been closed for three days now. Have you been effected by this and do you even care?
Jeff: So far, no. I definitely care seemingly one of the few. Whether or not congress pays the debt due in the next week will effect everyone! Flint and Michigan were one of the hardest hit places from the recent “recession” and it’s seemed that whether things go well or poorly anywhere else, this place does not do well.
Stoli: How did the 3 of you come together to form the band and what is the meaning of “Calcaska”?
Jeff: It was a chance thing, we were in 2 different bands and met because of playing local shows together in the Flint area. After only hanging out twice, I last resort was asking a bunch of local band drummers to come record an EP in Tennessee with me in 2009. Everything transpired from there.
Stoli: Would you say that your friends and family support your musical aspirations and does music help keep you out of trouble?
Jeff: Yes, they do support it, but it’s difficult to accurately describe what exactly the aspiration is without sound like an idiot (haha). Music keeps me out of trouble. Recording is a job, I’m at a Guitar Center doing sales, and I also play Cello in the symphony orchestra at school.
Stoli: I really like your ‘YBYL EP’. How long were you guys writing & recording that and where can we grab a copy?
Jeff: Thank you! Writing for that EP took nearly a year. The songs were picked out of about 10 ideas we had and they got perfected over a few month’s time. By the time we got the studio, pre-production was done. We only changed 1 part of one song out of the 5 on the EP once we were at the studio. Recording took about 3 weeks. I would be doing guitar and synth all day and then by 1am Matt McClellan would ask “Do you want to do vocals?” I don’t remember all the specifics but I know my vocals for Devil’s Gold were recorded between 2 and 3am one night.
Live at UG Studios:
Stoli: You guys have put out a new EP every year or so. Any plans for a new EP this year or 2014?
Jeff: There are plans. We’ve been playing with a few fill in musicians or even extra musicians lately and I’ve been writing with them as well as on my own again. There is definitely a release planned for 2014. I can’t say when.
Stoli: I really like your song “Surrender”. Who wrote that song and what is it about?
Jeff: That song I wrote in about 1 day. I had came up with the guitar part while we were jamming at practice and even though everyone wanted to continue to play with it, I put it in the back of my mind and went home. Someone very close to me got sick a few weeks later and while seeing him in his pain and last moments, the song came together and was everything I wanted to say or wished he knew.
Stoli: Do you guys have work/school as well as the band and how do you balance?
Jeff: I work part time and go to school full time (extreme full time, 6 classes) and the other guys work, some of our new fill in guys go to school and work like me. It’s a hard balance but when everyone is committed, you find the time.
Stoli: If there was one band that you respect & admire their career who would that be?
Jeff: As far as band’s entire careers go, U2 takes the cake. No member changes, never breaking up, it’s what every legendary band wishes they could say that would make them even more legendary. The activism, the shows, the songwriting.. I could go on forever.
Stoli: What is your favorite & most challenging part of being in a band and making music with your bandmates?
Jeff: Playing shows is my favorite and has to be most challenging part. For me, I want to give the best performance possible. Many things can go wrong – you always mess up at least once per night. The desire to be perfect though, the challenge to always be better is exciting. When I can show the people singing the lyrics back to me that they came from my heart (and now come from theirs), it makes me feel like I’m being who I was made to be.
Stoli: What is the best part of growing up and living in Flint, MI besides Michael Moore?
Jeff: Haha. It’s important to note that he is from Davison which is a pretty nice area. Luckily I grew up in Flushing, which is also not “Flint”. You’re safe as long as you don’t go over the highway on Flushing’s side.
Stoli: What is coming up for Calcaska and where you @ online?
Jeff: Right now writing is the main concern. Who knows what will happen. You can find us on www.facebook.com/calcaska
We are also on Itunes, Spotify, and Google Play.