I had the pleasure of interviewing Melisa of Melisa Kelly and the Smokin Crows. In this interview you will learn about this excellent band and much more.
Rob: Who is Melisa Kelly and the Smokin’ Crows?
Melisa: So in the band we have our pianist Dean Darkie, bassist Luther Sean Hall, our drummer Micah Johnston, and lead guitarist Luca Pisanu. I’ve been working with Dean and Luther on and off for years on loads of different musical projects, and I met Luca and Micah through the jam scene in Glasgow. When I was putting a band together to release my music they just seemed like a natural choice. They’re talented good guys.
Rob: What inspired your name?
Melisa: Our name was one of those things that we took forever to decide on. Finally, we just bandied about some ideas and settled on Smokin’ Crows. I think a crow with a fag in its mouth its probably our spirit animal.
Rob: What is your new album “Some Kind of Voodoo” about?
Melisa: The new EP was about a few ideas. Lyrically, it was about different thoughts and feelings that I have had over the past year, as a lot of my writing is, it’s always about things that have happened to me and my reaction to it. Musically, I have always been more inclined to write music that can be described as ‘soul’ music but this was my first real foray into writing from a more blues inspired place, which I feel is more honest.
Rob: What is your favorite song off this record?
Melisa: ‘Some Kind of Voodoo’, is definitely my favorite. It’s about all those thoughts you have in relationships that you would never say. All those destructive emotions that you can only have when you’re really in love with someone. I think that’s what I love about songwriting; it’s one of the few times in life where you can be completely and brutally honest.
Rob: Where does your sound come from?
Melisa: The band’s sound is definitely of a mix. I’m heavily influenced by pretty old school blues and soul, like Bessie Smith, Ray Charles through to Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin, but I think all the boys bring their influences too. We are at the heart of it a blues and soul inspired band, but each member has their own take on what that is, through their musical tastes, and that’s what makes it different.
Rob: If you could meet one musician, who would it be?
Melisa: Such a hard question and my answer would change every day you asked me. Today, I’d probably say Ray Charles. He managed to transcend genre’s effortlessly, jazz, blues, rhythm and blues, soul and country. His interpretation of his own songs changed consistently and he did it all during a period of American history where he had protest from both the white and black communities. He was revolutionary. To pick his brains for five minutes would probably have been mind blowing.
Rob: How is Glasgow’s music scene?
Melisa: Glasgow’s music scene is vibrant. There’s so much going on. The blues scene is particularly popular and there’s some great artists coming up. Couple that with some really supportive venues and there is definitely something for everyone.
Rob: What are your plans for 2016?
Melisa: At the moment we’re looking to start a crowd-funding project for our album. We raised funds the same way for the EP and the response was overwhelming. It’s such a great way to develop original music. We all know that the industry isn’t the easiest but with the fans support and pre ordering music, crowd-funding is making it possible for small bands to get their music out there without needing major corporate support. Hopefully, between the album and a new music video we can reach some new blues fans in 2016.