In a time where younger musicians shy away from jazz music, Eastend Mile fully embraces the genre. The four piece consisting of Roger Romero on Saxophone, Caleb Lombardi on Keys, Christoffer Thygesen on Bass and Dhruva Krishna on Drums put a unique and fresh spin on a forgotten era. “I had a Wonderful Time” marks the first album with this group of musicians and their chemistry is undeniable. The album will be officially released Saturday, September 10 at James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy in the ballroom with support from Memphis Hill. Festivities begin at 9pm and doors open at 8pm. Tickets are only $10 and can be purchased at the event or www.jamesstreetgastropub.com. Check out our interview with Caleb Lombardi below.
Sound Scene Express: When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music
Caleb Lombardi: The band started in 2013 after Roger and I, met at a studio session at Carnegie Mellon. Roger and I had a similar vision for our music and a similar desire to reach people in this awesome city. We recorded our first EP, City Limits, with a few other guys before Dhruva and Christoffer (a.k.a. Tiggy), joined the band.
SSE: How was Eastend Mile chosen as your band name?
CL: Naming a band is always interesting endeavor. Long story short, when the band started, we would rehearse at Carnegie Mellon every week. Because CMU is technically located in the East End of PGH, we realized we all had to make some sort of trek to rehearsal, hence the “mile”. The name symbolizes both the physical and spiritual journey, from our perspective.
SSE: Who writes your music? What is your/their inspiration?
CL: Simply put, the band writes the music as a whole. But it’s rarely that simple. A song is usually conceived by one of us and then brought to Roger, the melody man, who is able to brilliantly create the melodies you hear in our songs.
The inspiration comes from so many different directions. We all played in very different bands before we got together in Eastend Mile. It sounds a bit cliché, but we listen to so much different music. So inspiration ranges from Snarky Puppy to Rage Against The Machine, Boston to The Robert Glasper Experiment, Kendrick Lamar to Hiatus Kaiyote, and from D’Angelo to Death Cab for Cutie. Suffice to say it’s rather eclectic… But that’s just us.
SSE: What are your rehearsals generally like? Do you have a set time each week in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous?
CL: Our rehearsals usually involve more of us growing and playing together rather than just learning our set. Building our chemistry, really.
Scheduled rehearsals are one of the only means for improving as a band and refining your sound. I wish I could tell you we rehearse the same day, for the same lengths, every week. But we also have other boring lives that can get in the way. We do try though. We do.
SSE: What’s your ultimate direction for your band? Are you seeking fame and fortune?
CL: Million dollar question right here. Our mission is to deliver genuine, authentic, and passionate music to all who choose to lend their ears. The ultimate direction? To reach more and more people with our music. As common as that mission is to most musicians and artists, we believe what we do is unique enough to stand out. Fame and fortune would be nice, but it’s deeper than that. The experience of making a real impact through self expression is enough for us.
SSE: You are about to release your first full length “I had a Wonderful Time,” what was the process like?
CL: We knew the moment Dhruva and Tiggy joined the band that we needed to get back into the studio. The band changed exponentially when they started playing with us and there needed to be proof of that. We immediately started writing new songs that were much more driving and complex. We compiled about 15 songs that we knew needed to be recorded. I’m not sure we even knew going in to the studio the endeavor we we’re taking on. We had so much vision and excitement, but not much of a realistic grasp on the final product. We were able to get organized enough to track what we needed to in the studio in November of 2015, and set goals for album artwork, social media strategies, and release details. I can honestly say that the lessons we learned over the past year, as a band that represents ourselves and handles business internally, have been incredibly key to our development and maturity as a band.
SSE: Your album release show is September 10, what can we expect from that?
CL: “I Had a Wonderful Time” is all about bringing people together. The album reflects togetherness and community throughout, featuring numerous local and out-of-state musicians on a few songs. We want our release night to be similar. You can expect people of all ages, from all over the area and beyond, coming together to enjoy a night of great music. The night is sponsored by East End Brewing Company, Foundsound Music, and Sound Scene Express. The night is also Thrival Innovation Festival’s official kick-off event as well, which is a huge honor. We are so grateful for James St Gastropub & Speakeasy for hosting the event. Kevin and his family are incredible people and have been very supportive of us and what we do. There will be posters all over the city with all the information. We’ve been planning this for months and we’re so excited to see it happen.
SSE: What was it like creating your first music video for “Blood Moon?”
CL: It’s so awesome being able to see a small idea come to such beautiful fruition. We had a great director, Jeremy Parsons, who was able to really take our vision and mold it into what you see in the video. Not to mention we had a blast filming. An open venue with a bunch of your friends rocking out? Not much else you could ask for!
SSE: What is your favorite East End Mile song and why?
CL: Good question. Definitely not an easy answer. Blood Moon edges out the others. It’s dynamic and powerful, a blast to play live, and one of our most complex songs to date. What’s really special about Blood Moon is that it’s set to head to the moon! No, really – it’s part of a new lunar exploration intiative called the “Moon Arts” project. The song will be engraved in titanium as the waveforms… Sup aliens.
SSE: What do you think of the Pittsburgh Music Scene?
CL: It’s been such a pleasure being grafted into the music scene in Pittsburgh. It’s authentic, gritty, and so welcoming. We’ve felt so included and been given such amazing praise from some of Pittsburgh’s greatest artists. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for us here in this great city.
SSE: Who is your favorite Pittsburgh band/musician?
CL: Now that’s not fair. There so many great groups here, and there are so many different sounds. We love to go see groups like Wreck Loose and the Commonheart, to Emerson Jay and Manic Soul.
SSE: What’s next for Eastend Mile (big tour, long break, etc.)?
CL: Well we want to take things a step at a time. We’re going to let the new album to simmer for a while. Once the new year hits, we hope to start planning a summer tour. We have a handful of shows throughout the fall at venues like Cattivo, Club Cafe, and Brillobox. But to answer the question, we know there is a lot in store for us and we’re very excited to see things blossom.
SSE: Is there anything else you would like to add?
CL: Yes please come to the release party. It’s going to be such a great time. We love you Pittsburgh.
Eastend Mile/I Had a Wonderfull Time