Medusa's Disco is known as one of the hardest working bands in Lancaster. After a wild show at Bube's Brewery last weekend, they'll be playing an intimate show this evening, Jan. 19, with Sleepy Limbs at the Sugartank. The band will be premiering a new bassist at the show, Anthony Procopio, as well as some new tunes. We talked with the band's primary duo, Wynton Huddle and Hunter Root, who both provide vocals and guitar, on the band's new addition, the weirdest band gift bestowed upon them and a lot more below.
1. Tell us about Anthony Procopio, Medusa’s new bassist premiering at the Friday Sugartank show.
Wynton Huddle: Anthony is the man! We have been working with him in other means for quite a while now; with his ever-growing beast of a festival, Threestival and his notorious experimental band, Time Relapse. Since we realized we had to start searching for a bassist I decided to make a Facebook post, and after 5 minutes I took it down because Anthony was ready to ride that train. Ride that train hard. Real hard. Hardly ride that trai- no, that doesn't work...We are extremely excited and proud to share a bunch of brand new songs we have been working on with Anthony at the Sugartank.
It's been great working with our previous bassist, Jason Shearer, he's been so good at learning our previous material that Tyler Smith (Medusa's first bassist) originally coined. Jay's last show will be March 7 at the 8x10 in Baltimore with People's Blues of Richmond. It's going to be a blowout and it will be the last time fans can hear some of our oldies for a long while.
2. Medusa’s Disco was previously known as SEEDS, which gets a shout out on the new record in “Ode to SEEDS.” How, if at all, did the band change when you changed the name and how has the band continued to evolve?
WH: "Ode to SEEDS" was meant to be a bit ironic I suppose. It's a complex instrumental jam on a psychedelic/progressive rock album. It's basically the exact opposite of our first album, "Questioned By A Ghost." It was very straight forward songwriting, as we were all getting used to playing with each other and finding our sound. Our most recent release, "Ripe," was the final development of finding our sound, steering away from simplicity and making it as complex as our music might ever be.
3. How do you translate MD’s huge rock sound into more intimate spaces like the Sugartank?
Hunter Root: When it comes to playing smaller venues we don't really do anything to compensate for the size. We come out swinging like we always do. When a rock show is concentrated into an intimate space like Bube's Brewery or the Sugartank, it's profound. The energy exchange between us and the crowd is larger than life.
WH: Playing more intimate spaces allows us to acknowledge our fans and feel like we are all in this moment together, us and the audience. We just played to a packed house at Bube's Brewery last weekend and we had our equipment get stepped on, mic stands knocked over, drinks spilled, the audience made me crowd surf and my tights got stuck on some Christmas lights on the ceiling. These are the nights we adore. It may very well be the most intense show the Sugartank has seen in a while.
4. Outside of Lancaster, where is your favorite venues or cities to play in?
WH: We really dig The Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center as well as The Abby Bar in Harrisburg. We also really love Be Here Now in Muncie, Indiana, Snug Harbor in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Ashley Street Station in Valdosta, Georgia. All of those venues have very homey, yet professional impressions.
5. Some of the obvious benchmarks of a great MD song are the vicious guitar riffs and high-energy tempos, but I think an underrated aspect of the band is your interesting and tight harmonies. Does the band write those collectively or is that all Wynton?
HR: The vocals are a collaboration between Wynton and I. As far as harmonies come about, it depends on who is leading the song vocally. When we're playing a song Wynton wrote, I'll explore harmonies and complement him where I deem fit. He does the same when we're playing a song I wrote. Wynton has always had a knack for coming up with harmonies though, and almost always gives me ideas for them.
6. Other than your own album, what was (individually or collectively) your favorite album of 2017?
WH: Speaking for myself, Hunter and Alex, our favorite album of 2017 is "Orc" by Thee Oh Sees. Very dark psychedelic beach rock with the right amount of intricacy and progressiveness. We've all been huge fans of Thee Oh Sees for a while now and it seems like it's starting to seep into our newer material. Ooh!
7. How did you first link up with Robin Chambers, who occasionally contributes violin live and in the studio?
WH: I met Robin at WLAN, which is now The Sugartank, but it used to be a really wild open mic that we had such a blast going to. She was performing with Bjorn Jacobsen at the open mic and I was so moved by their performance that we ended up setting up a show at the Chameleon Club. It was there I asked her if she would be willing to lay down a violin track for 'Life Caused Cancer' while we recorded our second full length, "Forked Tongue Fables." We met up and started jamming and the rest writes itself. We haven't played an acoustic show with her in over a year and we all miss working with her! Hopefully it happens sooner then later, Robin has become quite the dear and important friend of mine and the band.
8. Last month, you were gifted a bat head from a fan, is this the strangest band gift you’ve received yet? Where is the head now?
HR: The bat head is most definitely the strangest item gifted to the band. It currently resides in our tool box. I'm not very superstitious so I don't foresee it being a bad omen or anything. It's a novelty.
9. What are the band’s goals for 2018?
WH: We are currently recording a full length album with our new label, Gunn Records, and we plan to release it later this year and then tour the country (and hopefully Canada). There is also a very good chance we might also end up leaving the state and setting up base somewhere warmer, brr! There's a lot in the works for now, including the ever growing prospect of finally getting vinyl for our album "Ripe," but that's all I'll say for now!
10. Finally, where does the band get their stylish hats?
HR: The hats were a gift from our previous bassist, Jay. He got them for us as a token for him joining the group. We all really dug them. The concept of wearing top hats had an extra special meaning because a good friend of Jay had passed and he used to rock one as well. We took his friends' hat on tour with us and passed it around between the four of us to give it some loving.