Alex Mendenall
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Alex Mendenall

Lansing, Michigan, United States | INDIE

Lansing, Michigan, United States | INDIE
Band Folk Acoustic

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"Alex Mendenall transitions into successful solo career"

Making the transition from a band to a solo artist can be a rough and long road. When an artist finds a way to transition successfully, they often stay true to the original sound of the band all while, being willing to push the boundaries.

Alex Mendenall, an alternative singers/songwriter from Michigan, has only been a solo artist for five months in the Michigan music scene. "I have only been performing as a solo artist for five months, but I've had a lot of support and some great experiences already. Things have been happening pretty fast. In June, I played my first solo show and since then, I have played a number of other great gigs, recorded and released my debut EP, and met some great people along the way. The highlight of it all so far was probably my show opening for Ryan Cabrera and Tyler Hilton in Lansing. The place was packed and the audience was electric. Interactions with them during and after my set made for an incredible experience. This journey into music has been a blast so far and I look forward to everything that the future holds," said Mendenall.

Mendenall and fans alike are now looking to the future. The Michigan music scene is still the main focus for Mendenall but the whole country is on his radar. "In the short term, I plan to do my best to spread my music around Michigan. I hope to play all over the state and to meet a lot of really great people. Eventually I want to tour the country with friends and make some really great memories. I will continue to write new songs and try new things in music, always keeping it fresh and never forgetting that music is simply a vessel through which I convey my most honest thoughts and feelings to the world."

Mendenall elaborated, "Long term, I think my future looks like a winding road heading deeper and deeper into a yet-to-be-determined landscape. I will continue to move forward along it despite not having a clue where it may lead and how it may change my life."

I had the chance to interview Alex Mendenall. We discussed everything from how Mendenall first discovered music to what his future looks like. The entire interview is below.

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C: When did you first discover music?

A: Some of my earliest memories center around music. I can clearly remember dancing around my living room as a four or five year old with my mom and dad while listening to Frank Sinatra. Sinatra was my first real exposure to music. As far as the creation of music, I picked up my first instrument (the Alto Sax) around the age of nine and loved learning movie themes and fun jazz pieces. I played in school for seven years before finally picking up the guitar after my first semester of college. The guitar struck such a chord (pun intended) with me because it gave me the ability to sing along with the notes. For the first time, I could incorporate music and lyrics and then eventually write my own. This was when I started to fall in love with music and let it become such a big part of me.

C: What would you consider to be some of your most notable music influences at a younger age?

A: As a young kid, my favorite genre was without a doubt Big Band music. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bobby Darin, Count Basie, Jimmy Durante, Harry Connick, Jr., and others filled my formative years. I loved the emotions and meaning saturating every one of their songs. As time went on, I became interested in almost every other genre: from rock to country, and oldies to metal. Tons of artists like Journey, Styx, System of a Down, Eminem, Big and Rich, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Garth Brooks, The Beastie Boys, and The Eagles brought new sounds and feelings to music. Looking back, I realize that I was doing more than just casually listening to their songs. I would analyze each phrase and solo and ask myself, "What makes this work? Why do I like this so much?" I was trying to break the code to their musical successes without even knowing it. Today, I use these lessons from my unique interests to help improve my music and create something entirely mine. I really feel that my widely varied influences have helped to make me a well rounded artist today.

C: In a few words, how would you describe your musical sound?

A: An outsider would probably say that I am an alternative singer/songwriter with a varying range of genres moving from one song to the next. But for me, my sound is somewhat more difficult to describe in words. From my point of view, my musical sound is just the sound of me. It is the sound of my life, my happiness, my pain, my successes and my failures. Because of this, my music can be light and poppy or dark and melancholy. You can hear flavors of jazz, alternative, pop, rock, and funk depending on the story I am telling. I love simple progressions with surprises thrown into the mix, but I also like more complex patterns taking listeners places they didn't thi - Examiner.com


"Phantom Fundamental makes Michigan debut"

Michigan music fans might not know the name Phantom Fundamental, but they soon will. Phantom Fundamental is made up of Alex Mendenall, Isaac Davis, Jon Landis and Chris Plumhoff who attended high school together in Mason, Michigan. Even though the guys were friends in high school, the band did not officially form until two years after graduation.

The band spoke about their formation, "At the end of our second college years in June 2012, we finally played together for the first time. Through the cheap amps, beat-up drum heads, and unbalanced volumes, the four of us heard something special echoing off those basement walls. We had a really good feeling about the chemistry and styles of the band and after experiencing this, we quickly joined together attention as a band," said the members of Phantom Fundamental.

Through those cheap amps and beat-up drums a unique alternative sound was created that is capturing the attention of music fans all over Michigan. "We focus a lot on eclecticism and individuality, trying to find instrumentation that most bands shy away from. We have ambitions to be all over the board: Folk, Art Rock, Indie, Pop, complex orchestrations and simple arrangements. This allows each song to stand out from the last and keeps our listeners deeply engaged."

Phantom Fundamental will be releasing their debut album, Dromedary, on May 1st, 2013. Following the release of their album the band plans to tour extensively.

I had the chance to interview Phantom Fundamental, we discussed everything from what notable musical influences the band members drew on at an early age to how the band takes on their musical process today. The entire interview is below.

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C: When did Phantom Fundamental come together?

P: The band is made up of guitarist, Chris Plumhoff, singer and guitarist, Alex Mendenall, drummer, Isaac Davis, and keyboardist and singer, Jon Landis. All four of us went to high school in Mason, MI together. Even though we were friends and musicians throughout high school, we never played music as a complete group until two years after graduation. At the end of our second college years in June 2012, we finally played together for the first time. Through the cheap amps, beat-up drum heads, and unbalanced volumes, the four of us heard
something special echoing off those basement walls. We had a really good feeling about the chemistry and styles of the band and after experiencing this, we quickly joined together as a band.

C: What would you consider to be some of your most notable music influences at a younger age?

P: The influences for our music really come from a wide range of artists. One is Pink Floyd and their album, "Dark Side of the Moon." We draw upon their ability to write dark, complex, progressive, and yet still widely liked songs. Other influences for us include the Radiohead, the pillows, Wilco, and The Beatles. One of the most influential pieces to the band's philosophy is The Beatles' album, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band." That is, a brilliant mix of
songs- a few that everyone likes instantly, and some that take years to really digest and fully appreciate. This is the journey on which we would like to take our listeners with our albums.

C: Phantom Fundamental in a few words, how would you describe the band's musical sound?

P: "A few words" is a little difficult for us. We are classified as an 'alternative' band, but we’re not quite like the big alternative acts out there. We focus a lot on eclecticism and individuality, trying to find instrumentation that most bands shy away from. We have ambitions to be all over the board: Folk, Art Rock, Indie, Pop, complex orchestrations and simple arrangements. This allows each song to stand out from the last and keeps our listeners deeply engaged. We start our
arrangements with a singer-songwriter feel- just one guy singing over his acoustic guitar. Then we layer on complex, stimulating sounds through electric guitar and synthesizer. Other times, we peel it back to some old fashioned roots, throwing down acoustic piano with a clean bass. We'd like to give a simple description, but we really aren't a simple band, which is something we're proud of.

C: What musical influences do you pull from when you are performing or writing music?

P: We pull from many of the same influences that we had at a younger
age. We are most stylistically similar to Radiohead and The Pillows, and most philosophically like The Beatles. This applies to us when we are both writing and performing. We also draw some minute inspirations from Mumford and Sons as well as Jason Mraz, particularly when writing. We feel that we have really fun personalities and we like to convey that to the crowd as bands like We Are Scientists do. We love to joke and let our fans know that we're having a great time up on stage.

C: Phantom Fundamental has gained quite a large following in the Midwest, - Examiner.com


"`Round Indie Music"

"Read a new songwriting tale by Phantom Fundamental. Then go write something." - 'Round Magazine


Discography

Here to Stay - 2013

Photos

Bio

I am a singer/songwriter and acoustic guitarist from Lansing, MI with influences from all over the map. I draw from alternative rock, folk, pop, and jazz, but my primary influences come from singer/songwriters like Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, and John Mayer.

My tunes pull from those same inspirations and cover a huge range of genres; Each song brings a fresh, new sound. Centering around a 12-string guitar, my music is mostly about experiences in my life. Events that many other people have or will experience themselves. In this way, listeners can really become a part of the story in the song, taking them on a journey that is completely their own.

I have played in venues across the Midwest with complete bands, duos, and solo and have loads of valuable experiences to draw upon. At venues like The Crofoot in Pontiac, Elbo Room in Chicago, The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, and The Loft in Lansing, just to name a few, I really learned how much I love performing. I have opened for some great acts like Royal Teeth, Ryan Cabrera, and Tyler Hilton. I have also recently released my debut EP "Here to Stay."