by: Quinn Cory
Following the preview of No Seatbelts' "Smells Like Teen Spirit" cover, we bring you the premiere of the band's EP "Perspectives". No Seatbelts represents a new generation of jazz musicians in the local music scene. The group consists of seasoned jazz musicians such as, Kyndal J on vocals, Calvin Turner on bass, Quinten Farr on keys, Dee Cee on drums, and Curtis Crummp on sax and keys as well. There is a mix of scatting, freeform, and classic jazz meanderings, which allows listeners to appreciate the new takes, while still maintaining an appreciation and knack for finding the right pockets, with a strong sense of tonal control and careful dynamics. No Seatbelts succeed in creating unique versions of both popular jazz and grunge rock.
The 3-track album features a blend of jazz fusion instrumentals and strong vocals. Taking well-known covers, the group applies a modern take, bringing their own twist the popular songs. The EP serves as a first installment to a greater project, "Prospectives Part II", which will be released later this year.
When I spoke to Kyndal J and Calvin Turner about their new project, they spoke of the group's motto and the meaning behind their name. In an effort to push boundaries and remind themselves to keep taking risks: "No Limits, No Boundaries, No Seatbelts." Read the interview below and listen to the release of "Perspectives". You can catch the group live at this year's Arte Para Todos Festival. The group will be headlining Good City Brewing, on Sunday, April 29th.
Why "No Seat Belts"? Is there a deeper meaning?
Our saying is No Limits, No Boundaries, No Seatbelts. It represents the Freedom to be ourselves and to create within that freedom as a collective.
Jazz seems to be experience a new wave in Milwaukee. Do you have a comment on that? Do you think it's less or more popular? How would you describe the difference between old jazz and new jazz?
Jazz is still jazz, and jazz has always been around in Milwaukee. We think its just a new generation of jazz musicians and more venues hosting these musicians that’s making jazz itself seem new.
When people think jazz they only know the old great jazz music from artist like Charlie Parker, Ella Fitz Gerald and Coltrane. These people are great, but jazz is not a person, it is a movement and style that is always evolving. For example albums like Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a butterfly” and Robert Glasper’s “Black Radio” make you rethink what jazz really is.
It breaks a lot of boundaries for jazz music.
What is it like being a jazz musician in Milwaukee?
It’s a great experience because there are so many great musicians to work with in Milwaukee. Each musician teaches you something new.
Being around so many great musicians that challenge you but also support you makes it a great experience.
How long have you all been playing together? What brought about the group?
We’ve played with each other in other groups , and have worked on projects together before No Seatbelts. We’ve been No SeatBelts for about a year and a half now.
What was the process of recording Perspectives?
As a band we couldn’t wait to get into the studio! It came down to finding the right people to capture our sound and energy. We found Silver City Studios and was able to get the product and sound that we were looking for. Josh Evert from “The Fatty Acids” was the engineer for this project and he really put in a lot of work to help us get the sound we wanted.
How does composition go for your all? Is there someone that takes the wheel or is it more collaborative?
Usually someone comes up with a skeleton idea and presents it to the group. After that everyone plays along to the idea adding what they think would sound cool and adding lyrics. We allow space for everyone in the group to put their stamp on each song.
What / who are your inspirations?
Musicians and artists that carry the same drive and passion as we do are our main inspirations. Creatives that love their craft and have a story inspires us to tell our story through music.
What do you hope the audience to take away from your EP?
We hope it inspires people to do more of what they love . It’s easy to get caught up into day to day issues. We hope this helps them get a better perspective on life and the reason purpose behind their gifts and talents.
Arte is out next gig. 4 out of 5 of us have graduated from an MPS school and three of us graduated from Milwaukee High school of the Arts. So to be able to support public schools and their art programs is amazing. Public schools get so over looked when it comes to funding so this is a great opportunity for us .
How do you select the songs that you perform and record? Why Nirvana? Do you feel any comparison between Nirvana and your group, being entertainers?
The covers we do are songs that we like or we think could be a cool challenge for us.
Most songs we decide to record are songs the we easily vibe on. When we play the song are we sounding good? are we having good time? Then it’s a song we need to share on our album or in performance.
Smells like teen spirit was one of those challenges we decided to take on. It was a song that wasn’t a genre that we usually perform. Even though other jazz musicians have played the song we still had to find how to interpret the song ourselves.
Plans for the summer? What's next for ya'll?
Our plan for the summer is to keep grinding hard! We have some things in the works for some new shows and we are still recording Perspectives 2 that will be dropping later this year.