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Reston, Virginia, United States

Reston, Virginia, United States
Band Hip Hop Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Mid-Atlantic Band Battle VIII at Jammin Java - January 8, 2012"

Photo credit:
Marianne Meyer

This past week, from Monday through Thursday (Jan. 8-10), Vienna VA’s Jammin Java hosted the Mid-Atlantic Band Battle #8 in which five or six regional bands competed each night to be the one act advancing to finals in February. The winner that night will receive $2500 cash, a headlining show at Jammin Java, studio time at Cue Recording Studios and other musician-friendly goodies.

The Band Battle doesn’t rely on audience response to determine the winner, instead using a judges panel that scores each band on criteria like musicianship and songwriting. It’s always a pleasure to see local talent get wider recognition and, having judged previous Jammin Java Band Battles, it was great to be asked to join in again. Here’s how it went down on the second night (Tuesday, January 8) with photos taken from the judges’ table.

View slideshow: Mid-Atlantic Band Battle VII at Jammin Java - January 8, 2012

The Whether Men, a trio of high school guys from the DC metro area opened with a quick set of alternative rock that included a cover of Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life.”

While Everything Kunex calls itself a reggae band on its Facebook page, the guys who took the stage in the second slot of the night moved easily between laid-back grooves and some serious thrashing.?

Third up, The Duskwhales made an immediate impression with their sartorial sense of humor - the keyboard player wearing a tiara and Star Trek uniform shirt and the bass player looking spiffy in a cardigan-and-tie combo. The music was equally lighthearted; you can sample the band’s 2012 indie pop CD, “Catpurse” and/or buy the digital album at a pay-what-you-wish price at Bandcamp.

The second half of the night opened with a pleasing set from Shade Parade, a pop/rock quintet from Woodbridge, VA which cites the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Kings of Leon as influences. Their three-song digital release is also available on Bandcamp, there are numerous well-shot live videos at ReverbNation and, even better, they’ll be returning to Jammin Java on Saturday, January 26 as openers for the HeLo CD release party.

The momentum continued when seven players took the stage in the form of Arteless, a veteran band with four years of experience on the NoVA scene. Fronted by two female vocalists and a male rapper, the funky outfit packed a lot of diverse material into their short set, working out a fusion of rock, soul, hip hop and blues.

If following such a high-energy act was daunting, final act of the night Zero Mercury was up to the task. The power trio offered a blast of powerful rock with a progressive/psychedelic touch and brought the evening’s musical competition to an exciting close.

And then it was time to tally the scoring sheets. It’s not my place to reveal the judges’ thinking - I actually don’t see the other scores and, like any artistic competition, it’s hugely subjective - but I suspect it was another close call that enabled only one of the talented acts to be declared the victor. That winner was Arteless, who will return for the finals on February 22, along with the top dogs from each of this week’s other three nights.
- Marianne Meyer -

"Artist Spotlight: Arteless – DC Based Rap, Soul and R&B"

Soul? Check.

Rhythm and Blues? Check, check and double-check?

Who are we checkin’ here, exactly?

This week, we’re checkin’ out Arteless, the rap, rhythm and soul group that launched into notoriety in 2008 in the Washington, DC music scene. Arteless combines steady grooves with a myriad of vocal melodies. The brainchild of bassist/calendar model Raymell “Manwich” Smith, Arteless covers the whole spectrum of hip hop entertainment. Manwich and his fellow musicians hold down the bottom while the vocal trio of Cratic, Myz Rae and Sy deliver the band’s vocal message through singing, rapping and every flavor in between. Manwich was cool enough to sit down and answer a few questions about the band, its unique sound, and the philosophy behind the music that defines Arteless.

nK: Thanks for letting our readers crack your schedule, bro. I know you’re busy, so let’s dive right in. Can you tell our readers about Arteless? How did this evolve from a vision into the very real, very tight band that exists today?

RS: Thank you for having me, I definitely appreciate it. About Arteless, We have 3 fronts, all who can solo, duo or trio with the band. The band is guitar, bass & drums, we play original music & write our own songs. We’re influenced by Rock, Classic Rock, Hip Hop, Soul & Rhythm & Blues. We have different musical backgrounds & stay true to who we are when composing, writing & performing. We have many facets & really are friends, that’s why we have 2 E’s, because we bring a lil extra.

Our love for music & wanting to play good music is pretty much what makes us who we are, the journey will be chronicled on the DVD documentary 1 day. We take music very serious & thrive to generate a sound as well an experience that people will feel & enjoy.

nK: It isn’t every week that I choose to interview an R&B band, but you and I have a pretty special history together. You want to share with our readers how we fell back into each other’s lives? I’m sure I’ll chime in where I think I have something to say.

RS: Yes indeed my Didi, we reconnected earlier this year competing in a BotB in which your band Division won. You & I genuinely were fans of each others set, we actually chatted it up, throughout the night. A week later, my sis asks is the Nick Kelly on my FB wall the same “Nicky Kelly” that we went to school with? Looked through pics & confirmed it was lil Nicky, back from 20+ yrs ago.

nK: OK, so the cat’s outta the bag. Manwich and I go back a way….a LONG way. Still, our journeys were very, very different. I took up bass at 14 and went through every experience you can log, from playing to an empty room, to playing for a few thousand of my closest friends with no rehearsal. Tell our readers what it was like the first time you hit the stage as THE guy on bass. What was it like?

RS: That’s awesome bro, I know you as a helluva front for Division & JWP but didn’t know you’re just as good as a bassist. For me, the 1st time I hit the stage, I felt & still do feel like, I can’t wait for
Y’all to hear this. I like to get a groove & make your head bob or foot tap. I love playing live & since 2008 we’ve been gaining momentum, becoming better & taking our dream to the next level.

nK: Flash forward a few years. Here it is, 2011. Arteless has released its first full-length disc, “The Journal” is now available on CDBaby, ITunes, Amazon and more. What makes you proud about this

RS: The thing that makes Me most proud is the commitment by everyone involved. There are so many behind the scene circumstances that go into making a good Cd. We stayed the course & collaborated to make what we feel is a good way to introduce the sound of Arteless. Our cd, “The Journal” gives listeners a sample of we are, with so much more to come.

nK: We talked a bit about the talent involved in Arteless. Can you introduce the band to our readers?

RS: Oh yea, there is Cratic, MC originally from Texas who’s flow, style & vibe make him our man. His ability to do what he does so well make it so fun to do what we do. Myz Rae, is a songbird from Indiana. She is so smooth with her voice & style. She can flat out perform. Sy, our other songbird from Tenn, is a soul singer who can rock or funk it out. She brings a balance as well as versatility. R&B, is homegrown & his lead guitar provides his signature sound on the cd & our live sets. His classic rock influence is apparent on the 1st song on the cd, he pays homage to Led Zeppelin’s 1st album.

nK: Okay, “The Journal” opens with “One Rhyme”. Cratic is the opening voice for the band. I think he reps the group well. The groove is established early and the guitar riff draws listeners in with an easy
counterpoint to the vocals. What made you guys decide this was the right opening song?

RS: Yup, One Rhyme opens the cd. A lil of the hook kinda sets it off, “Patiently waiting like I’m standing in the lunch line, it’s crunch tim - Nick Kelly - JWP Music Blog

"The Sexy Men From NOVA Calendar Cross Thompson &Raymell "Manwich" Smith"

Respected NYC Radio Personality - MUTHAKNOWS, Sits down with ARTELESS Bass Player Raymell "MANWHICH" Smith. Raymell was also featured in the Men From NOVA Calendar 2010 and 2011 edition. - BlogTalkRadio


Still working on that hot first release.



The Band Arteless has been moving crowds and defying musical classification for more than 3 years. Generally described as a fusion of Rock, Soul, Hip Hop, Jazz & Blues. Arteless Band Members (ABM) has local ties all over the Northern Virginia (NoVa) area, especially around Fairfax & Prince William Counties. Having grown up in & around the NoVA area some ABM remember attending many concerts, shows
& festivals as far back as 1989. Those in attendance at a Arteless will move, groove and share an amazing musical experience that surely will get them lifted.

Arteless was formed on April 20, 2008. The original members were hip hop artist Cratic, Sy and Myz Rae on vocals, DeeJay ROBO on drums, MANWICH on bass, David L on keys and Art Wolff on guitar.

Shortly after the departure of fun & crazy cool Art on May 11, 2008, guitarist R&B auditioned for the guitar role on May 21 & played His first set as a ABM on May 22, 2008. In August of 2008, David L moved to Atlanta for college & to pursue his passion for music production. Arteless began cutting their teeth at various local venues such as T T Reynolds, Majestic & most notably Jimmy’s Tavern in Herndon where Wednesday’s open mic nights was one of the first to showcase the up and coming Arteless. Since that time the lineup has stayed intact with a few hiccups.

Cratic is a hip hop artist originally from Southeast, Texas and now residing in NoVa. Known for his unmistakable flow and keen rhyme scheme, you’ll find yourself with a hand in the air and head bobbing every time you hear this guy spit.

Sy, 1/2 of Songbird duo SyRae is originally from Memphis, Tennessee and started singing with Her "Mama" at age 6. This powerful soul singer is influenced by a range of artists from Patti LaBelle, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston to Rod Stewart, Sy now resides in NoVa.

Myz Rae, the other 1/2 of the duo SyRae, is from Gary Indiana, home of the Jacksons. Yes those Jacksons, Michael, Janet, Tito & Joe. This sultry smooth singer has been performing on various stages since Her early teens and She currently lives in NoVa. These two Songbirds will do things with their voices that will have you doing roundhouse kicks of joy!

A-Train is the lead guitarist and Dr. Beast’s little brother.  He has been playing various musical instruments from a very young age, and the ‘lil Train that could’ started learning how to play guitar when he was 11 by listening to Sublime albums.  He was raised on The Isley Brothers and Led Zeppelin in addition to understanding and being an avid fan of hip hop.  Since joining Arteless, the vibe and love is perfect as He shares their passion for Music.

Drummer, 'Dr. Beast' behind the kit operates & performs surgery behind the kit, hence his stage name.  this cement cracking percussionist will make You feel & move to percussion and bass in any & every way possible.

Bassist MANWICH is the heart & soul, originally from Cleveland, Ohio, He now resides in NoVa as well. MANWICH is also a male model who has been featured in the 2009-2010 & 2010-2011 N*VA men calendar presented by & Check him out. . . A bass player is a bass player, but MANWICH is a meal!

Trumpeter, Tom Zama linked up Arteless in Oct, 2013 in what was supposed to be some session work on a few songs. But after vibing, playing & doing what Nik Hughes (Youngblood Hawke) coined ‘the Arte of the hang’ sesh’s with him. Tom Zama also is a keeper, he also plays keys. This is a must see & hear Cat! Tom started playing trumpet in elementary school and never really stopped. Classically trained, Tom has played over a variety of genres and teaches trumpet. Arteless has provided Tom an opportunity to contribute and collaborate without limit. He also enjoys beer. Mmmm….beer.

In March of 2009 Arteless joined forces with Supa Dave Schiffner of Madmanstudios in NoVa. Supa produces, videotapes, runs sound & does just about everything that keeps Arteless on the cutting edge (hence the name "Supa”).

In Dec 2010, Dave (Bam Bam) Morgan, agreed to manage & handle Arteless affairs. Dave, who has a passion for promoting, whether it be His creation JUANAPALOOZA (Health Awareness, yearly event), local m