Baked Potatoes... a band you truly need to know Image

by Biko Kennedy

Every so often we come across bands of tremendous potential to shake the musical landscape and Baked Potatoes is one such band. In our in-depth interview with the band, we explored the band's beginnings and visions of the future.

JAmusic: Music lovers globally will always be looking for that new, impeccable sound that can be looked upon as leaders of the new wave of vocalists. How would the band define a musical genius that can eventually become a vocal leader?
Pat Tierney (Vocals/Rhythm Guitar):  “By taking influences from legends such as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Cas Haley to name a few and blending it into your own style.”

JAmusic: Some of the most genius artists have thrived when taking chances and innovating. How important/present is that on the Reggae soundscape today; from what you've seen and that might have help in composing your singles?Baked Potatoes (BP): In today’s world it is important to keep changing and innovating instead of sounding like everything that came before you.  Today’s reggae soundscape is diverse as ever.  Without taking chances and innovating, a band will never stand out and create their own unique sound.

Joe Kaplan (Lead Guitar/Backup Vox):  “As a band, you should not be afraid to go outside the box and experiment, like Frank Zappa and Jimi Hendrix.

JAmusic: How do you think your unique fusion on Reggae will impact your growing fan base as well as attract new ones?
BP: Our unique style on Reggae will help us to grow our fanbase to include people who don’t typically listen to a reggae band.  With seven members, everyone has different influences.  As a band, we listen to everything from rom rock, jazz, punk, hardcore, jam band, indie, shoegaze, rap, pop-punk, r&b, soul, and pop music to reggae and more.  We are all avid consumers of music.

JAmusic: With every single that an artist releases they intend to tell a specific story. What is the tale the band intend on Waiting For The Weekend?
BP:  “The title of our EP is the tale of the college student.  The euphoric feeling of when the weekend finally hits.  Each song however tells their own tale.   “Neon Top” was created when Pat, Joe, and our friend Mark were at a public pool in Oneonta and were singing to the girls at the pool.  “Going Through The Motions” is a song about doing the bare minimum and being aloof.  “Seeding” highlights the consequences about not protecting yourself or your computer.  The last song on the album, “Quicksand”, was the first song that we all wrote together.  It was more of a conscious stream of thought with everyone contributing to the process.  The lyrics are about being stressed to the point of forgetting the good things in life.

JAmusic: How much can you see the band’s growth since its inception?
BP: We are a band that went from playing a our first show on 4/20 in 2013 for SUNY Oneonta’s NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) Club with 10 people in attendance, to playing Oneonta’s annual OHfest concert with Sammy Adams to about 1500 people.  We got there by winning a battle of the bands competing against the best bands in Oneonta.  Since then, we have released our debut EP that was self recorded and are seeing some great press and radio airplay as a result. 

JAmusic: What's the biggest risk you've taken artistically; one that went over surprisingly well and one that might've gone over people's heads?
BP: As a band, we have definitely taken many artistic risks.  We have written a song about tittles that pop, which could have been considered in bad taste, but instead has become one of our most popular songs with fans belting the lyrics back to us at our shows.  The biggest risk we have made is that all of the songs on our EP were tracked live and we recorded them ourselves.

JAmusic: Who's the artist that keeps you on your toes? Pushes you to go harder?
BP:I don’t think there is any one artist that keeps us on our toes as musicians.  The dynamic of our band comes from the fact that we all listen to a wide spectrum of music and blend that together into the songs we write for Baked Potatoes.  As a group, we push each other to write new ideas and continue as a band while the teachers and friends we have had along the way continue to support and inspire our creative ability.

JAmusic: When you got into the music business where did you think you'd be today or where did you see yourself fitting in at the moment?
BP: When we started Baked Potatoes we were all looking for a way to have fun and have something to do with our time.  As a band we never really aspired to do more than record an album and go on tour.  So far we have accomplished both goals that we set for ourselves and are now hoping to do a larger tour and release a full length album.

JAmusic: What's the purpose on your musical journey? What's the message you're trying to give?
BP:Be yourself and do what you want to do.  Smile.  Respect one another and have fun.  Give good vibes.

JAmusic: What's one song that you hold close to you because of a particular line or better yet what's the most philosophical quote you've heard in a song that you hold close to your heart?
BP: Now more than ever ‘you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.’

JAmusic: We live in an era where the average person's attention span is limited to what they want to see or hear. What are you doing differently that will hold their attention?
BP: Our live set is very spontaneous.  We mix it up with different covers at all of our shows.  We have played covers from The Ghostbusters Theme and Frank Sinatra’s NY, NY to Lynrd Skynrd, Tonto, and M.I.A.  Additionally we have played a few shows where we dressed up like the Hey Arnold characters, worn costumes such as Babe-raham Lincoln, Marijuana Man and Dope Boy.  At one of our Oneonta shows we started a tradition of playing a bathroom jam during our set where each member who has to go to the bathroom tags in and out with other members taking solos to cover their absence.  We are also known to play songs that we have never rehearsed, but decide to play during our set because it gets requested.

JAmusic: With success comes a lot of negative feedback, how do you react or deal with negativity?
BP:As a band we just ignore the negativity and look towards the good feedback and everything that we have accomplished. 

JAmusic: What kind of future plans have the band set for itself as an artiste (to accomplish and maintain)?
BP: We hope to remain a band for as long as possible as our individual lives take us into different directions.  As a seven-piece reggae band, this is something that we all feel very passionate about.  We hope to go on tour towards the beginning of the summer and released a full length album in the near future.

JAmusic: What insight can you give on the power of music and its ability to communicate certain messages verbally and non-verbally? And what do you think your music represents? Music is a universal language
Jesse Hermann (Alto Sax): The power of music is huge, almost indescribably so.  Music can pull someone out of depression, make people fall in love, and add different layers to film.  Music is all around us and without it life would be a completely different place.  Music can unite people and rally them together for a cause and even represent different periods in time.  I would say that our music is about loving life, overcoming struggles, and finding a way to have fun.  Time will only tell whether or not our music will transform into a bigger message, transcend generations, or simply mean the world to our band.  In the words of our good friend Kaler Carpenter of Oneonta Ska Society, finding out means “waiting for the next album.”

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