Photo by Todd Michael Sherman
Last year during the 2nd annual Deutschtown Music Festival, Emily Rodgers Band performed at HughShows 10.7 at Eide’s Entertainment in the Strip District, for the year long celebration of music blogger Hugh Twyman. She did make it to DMF after her performance to take in the festivities as a fan, but this year Rodgers will be there as a performer at 5PM at Arnold’s Tea, located at 502 E. Ohio Street for an all ages show. The Emily Rodgers Band consists of Emily Rodgers on guitar and vocals, Erik Cirelli on guitar and lap steel, Allison Kacmar Richards on bass, Megan Williams on violin, and Mark Lyons on drums. Check out Emily Rodgers bio followed by our interview.
“Emily Rodgers’s music has been compared to Mazzy Star, Cat Power, and Neil Young. Rodgers’s 2009 release Bright Day was mixed and mastered by legendary indie producer Kramer who has praised her music in a number of interviews, calling her “a songwriter in the classic sense of the term.” In 2008, Rodgers signed to Misra Records; that same year, she performed at the SXSW Music Festival. Rodgers has shared stages with artists including: Magnolia Electric Company, Great Lake Swimmers, Nina Nastasia, Thalia Zedek Band, Hayden, Horse Feathers and Jolie Holland.”
Sound Scene Express: When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?
Emily Rodgers: I began playing my original compositions as a solo singer-songwriter in 2003, when I moved to Pittsburgh. I’ve had a full band since about 2004 and released my first album in 2005. The musicians have been revolving, but I’ve had a band since 2004.
SSE: Have you been in any other bands?
ER: Not formally, but I did play viola in music videos for both Lohio and Justin Andrews. I also played viola, cello, accordion and added backing vocals to a 2012 release by John Rodgers.
SSE: Who writes your song lyrics? What is your inspiration?
ER: I write all of the lyrics to my songs. The question of artistic inspiration is a tricky one. Writing and singing is cathartic to me. It’s my hope that my art benefits me as well as my listeners.
SSE: What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?
ER: Rock, indie singer-songwriter
SSE: What band would you love to open a show for?
ER: PJ Harvey, The Afghan Whigs, Richmond Fontaine or Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
I’m happy to say that I’ve opened for most bands I’d otherwise provide as an answer to this question: Magnolia Electric Company, Thalia Zedek Band, The Cynics, Great Lake Swimmers,
SSE: Where have you performed? What are your favorite venues?
ER: I’ve likely performed at all Pittsburgh venues at this point. My favorite (though it recently closed) has been Garfield Artworks, run by Manny Theiner.
SSE: Do you perform outside of Pittsburgh?
ER: Yes. Chicago and NYC fairly frequently. Austin (SXSW), Boston, Providence (RI), Philadelphia, Louisville, Cleveland, Youngstown, Columbus, and Madison (WI) as well.
SSE: What are your rehearsals generally like? Do you have a set time each week, in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous?
ER: We try to stick to a regular schedule. Once per week, two hours. We all have day jobs so it can be tough, but we all make rehearsal a priority.
SSE: What do you think of the Pittsburgh Music Scene?
ER: There is a lot of energy and excitement both on the part of Pittsburgh musicians and show-goers. I’m glad to see Pittsburgh’s scene begin to receive national recognition.
SSE: Who is your favorite Pittsburgh band/ musician?
ER: The Cynics is my favorite for sure. Also Karl Hendricks Trio, ATS and Host Skull.
SSE: Have you ever been to Deutschtown Music Festival, if so do you have any favorite moments or performances?
ER: I attended last year. It reminded me a great deal of South by Southwest, with so many venues in a small space. One can just wander from one venue to the next. It’s wonderful. I really enjoyed seeing the Chad Sipes Stereo at the Young Men’s Republican Club last year.
SSE: What bands do you plan on seeing at Deutschtown Music Festival before or after your set, if any?
ER: As many as I can. Definitely The Chad Sipes Stereo, Paul Luc and Cello Fury.
SSE: How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a demo CD?