Chakras
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Chakras

Cincinnati, Ohio, United States | SELF

Cincinnati, Ohio, United States | SELF
Band Rock Alternative

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Chakras
"Power outfit mixes up Metal, Hard Rock, Prog and Pop"
By Brian Baker
When Andrea Simler DeGolier and her husband relocated to Cincinnati from Buffalo, N.Y., in 1996, she left behind the successful regional band Kama Sutra and a burgeoning scene. After several projects that didn’t quite gel, DeGolier decided in late 2007 to take one last stab at putting together a Cincinnati band.

“It took a long time to find people who wanted to play something different, a little heavier and more eclectic,” DeGolier says over beers and snacks at her Madeira home. “I put an ad in the paper. It was like, ‘C’mon, we’ve got to find people that want to do the same thing.’ ”

DeGolier’s classified ad interested drummer Steve Klosinski, and quickly the pieces fell into place. Klosinski invited guitarist Bill Menke, DeGolier brought in cellist/keyboardist/vocalist Patrice Schlick, a musician since fourth grade who had discussed forming a band with DeGolier but was simply too busy.

“I couldn’t pursue music, which is my passion, because my job was too demanding; then I got notice I was going to be let go,” says Schlick, also a model/actress currently filming a feature entitled The Black Dove. “It was perfect timing.”

Schlick in turn introduced bassist Jeff Conner to the group, and guitarist Mark Szabo offered his services soon after. Within weeks, DeGolier had assembled Chakras, the band she had envisioned for years.

“As many directions as we’re pulled in, as many reasons as we have not to focus on this, we still find the time and energy because it’s a catalyst and it’s pulling itself forward,” Conner says. “Not to hyperbolize, but in a momentous way, it’s just a solid musical statement, and once you’re a part of it, you get wrapped up. It’s like a snowball going down a hill; you don’t stop, you go along for the ride until you hit a tree.”

“I sought the band out because of its eclecticism,” Szabo says. “The band takes music in so many different directions. Like Trice’s cello and keyboards, it flips Hard Rock on its head. That’s what got me thinking that this band is really cool. That and Andrea’s voice is just stratospheric.”

In Eastern spiritual terms, chakras are points of power within the body. Given their varied governing influences, Chakras is the perfect appellation for the sextet, all veterans of several local outfits (Hollowpoint, Gravy 8, Spiff, Kohai and Pale Beneath the Blue among them). Filtering their love of disparate but connected bands like Tool, Bad Religion, Dream Theater, Tori Amos, Corrosion of Conformity, Kings X and Queensryche through their own unique chemistry results in a sound that slams with Hard Rock’s bombast, lulls with Folk/Pop and Prog’s subtlety and shreds with Metal’s intensity. Almost since its formation, Chakras poured its collective heart and soul into the debut album Cedric, released back in June.

“In a Hard Rock milieu, we’re a broad spectrum of sounds and influences and we get a broad reception,” Conner says. “The Punk guy listens to a Bill riff and goes, ‘That’s pretty cool.’ The Prog guy listens to a cello breakdown with Mark harmonizing and goes, ‘That’s pretty cool.’ The Alice in Chains fan hears Steve and I syncing up on a back groove and goes, ‘That’s cool, and there’s an opera chick ... that’s awesome!’ ”

“Bill challenges me to play in places I’ve never played before,” Szabo says. “I think I challenge Steve to play like he’s never played. Like the song ‘999’ — it’s so heavy, Andrea’s typical melodic approach didn’t work so she tried something brutal and it coalesced.”

The band recorded over the course of two years at Ashley Shepherd’s Audio Grotto — DeGolier’s firm, Heliotrope Designs, helped appoint Shepherd’s studio — and the album was in process when Menke’s 8-year-old son Cedric collapsed at school and was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which required surgery but thankfully was benign.

“Everything was on hold initially, but it happened quickly,” Menke says. “The period where it was really scary was short. The band really rallied around me, though. It was a tough time, but everybody helped me through and that was awesome.”

Cedric’s courage and determination was so inspirational that the band named the album after him in tribute. In fact, Chakras exhibits many of the same qualities as their album’s namesake: courage in pursuing a Hard Rock/Prog/Metal direction that isn’t particularly pervasive locally and the determination to seek a fan base within and beyond Cincinnati, particularly by making fans of out-of-town bands and their audiences.

For now, Chakras will mix occasional local gigs with more frequent regional dates as they continue to support Cedric (which has been selling well and garnering great reviews), explore their myriad influences in new material and continue to pursue the odd acoustic booking (which Szabo characterizes as “a different flavor of intense”). The things that the band learned from recording Cedric - CityBeat


June 4, 2010

Local Rock sextet Chakras formed in 2008 and almost immediately made an impression with its Goth/Alternative/Hard Rock/Metal audio conglomeration. The band scored Cincinnati Entertainment Award nominations in both of its years of existence and the group’s energized live shows have helped it build a local and regional name for itself.

The band celebrates the release of its first long-player, Cedric, at the Southgate House. (The album was named in honor of guitarist Bill Menke’s young son who has been battling a brain tumor, from which he is still recovering.)

With the high-soaring vocals of Andrea Simler-DeGolier, songs about everything from religion to S&M, the creative, metallic guitar work brought by Menke and Mark Szabo, eerie/airy cello by Patrice and a punishing, tight rhythm section (bassist Jeff Conner and drummer Steve Kolonski), Chakras’ sound is dark, emotional and moody, but also accessible and highly melodic (the group is already getting radio play around the country with the album). An easy comparison is Evanescence (thanks mostly to the band’s big, sweeping choruses), but you’ll hear tons more of the members’ varied influences (Alice in Chains, White Stripes, Heart and more) between the grooves. Overall, Cedric is a solid Alt/Hard Rock album that seems primed for even more radio exposure if it gets into the right hands. (Mike Breen)

- CityBeat


Members: Andrea Simler-DeGolier; vocals, lyrics; Jeff Conner, bass, backing vocals; Patrice, cello, keyboard, backing vocals; Bill Menke, guitar; Mark Szabo, guitar; Steve Klosinski, drums

Hometown: Cincinnati

Latest project: full length debut “Cedric”

Sound like: alternative hard rock with flourishes of goth and metal

Additional album fact: Cover art features local fire blower Lindsay “Vega” Wildt

Heavy alt-rockers Chakras are poised to release their debut album, “Cedric,” with a show this weekend.

Last year when the band was working on the album, guitarist Bill Menke’s son was diagnosed with a brain tumor, said lead singer Andrea Simler-DeGolier, so they decided to dedicate the album to him and name it for him as well.

The band, says Simler-DeGolier, was very much inspired by Cedric and his family during the difficult period. Cedric is past the critical stage, but his recovery continues.

Simler-DeGolier spoke with us about the band, the album and playing acoustic at Hot Topic.

Many of your songs touch upon dark or taboo subject matter, will that be an overriding theme on your album as well?
Well, our music is, you know, it’s influenced by some hard rock backgrounds, but we also take an ethereal route on some of our music as well. We kind of like the combination and the juxtaposition of the heavy and the beautiful.

Does it bother you that some label you as goth music based on the band’s appearance?
We get that association, but I would really call us more rock or hard rock with moments or influences of goth or metal. The only reason that I don’t like to tag us as goth is because, you know, there is a very specific tag in the industry for goth rock, and we’re not necessarily that. I don’t mean to be indecisive, but our sound is more (varied).

The local music scene seems to be very blues/garage/Americana dominated. Where do you fit in to all of that and where do you draw your fan base from?
We play predominantly Southgate House, Madison Theater and Mad Hatter. You know you’re right, locally, I think the sound is more indie rock, definitely blues and folk. So you know, locally, where do we fit in? I think basically we build a lot of our own shows because I don’t feel that we fit into any specific genre locally. We tend to go towards the rock or hard rock. When Mad Hatter maybe will call us for a show, or the Madison Theater, they’ll put us on a bill with more of the harder edged locals. We’ve played with Rosemary Device, Noctaluca – that’s a little more hard rock.

You guys are playing a show at Hot Topic. Have you ever done that before and what will it be like?
Basically what we wanted to do as we ramped up to our release show on June 4, we wanted to do as many in-stores as possible. It’s just a really great avenue to get yourself out there to people who would not necessarily know your name or come to see you. But sometimes when they see you in an in-store setting, you get a handful of new fans. And it’s also really great because maybe younger people can’t get into the venues because of their ages, but they can come out to an in-store.

You do these shows acoustically, so how does that work out?
We LOVE doing the acoustic because it’s such a different sense that the songs take on a new identity, I think. You can kind of hear all instrumentation in a different form. It’s definitely more of a mellow, chilled out emotion. The songs are kind of dark, or some of them are kind of dark, so it’s interesting to play them in an acoustic, kind of more beautiful light, especially the heavier ones.?

What do you do about keyboards then?
We don’t. Patrice focuses on the cello, which is amazing. The cello adds such a beautiful timbre to it all.

Are you going to be picking up anything extra when you’re at Hot Topic, maybe a Twilight T-shirt?
I don’t know about Twilight T-shirts, maybe something crazy for the release party or something.
- Metromix Cincinnati


Discography

Itch (Single) - 2012
Cedric - 2010
Chakras (Promo EP) - 2010
Super Single Tracks (Under God, BDSM) - 2009

Photos

Bio

Chakras is a Cincinnati based hard-rock band that incorporates elements of pop, metal, prog and punk to create a memorable, unique sound that remains accessible to the listener.

Fueled by lead vocals that range from operatic to sultry, punishingly tight drums and bass, ethereal cello/keys and aggressive guitars, Chakras is a formidable combination of both high-energy and substance.

Audiences quickly find that Chakras' live shows are fueled with passion and energy. The band maintains an active performance schedule; following the release of the album "Cedric," Chakras has performed in nearly 30 cities among 12 states. The band continues to expand their regional route, reaching a broader audience and increasing their fan base.

NOMINATIONS / AWARDS

Citybeat / CEA Best Hard Rock Band 2012

Nominated for CityBeat (Cincinnati Entertainment Award) CEA 2011 - Best Hard Rock Band

Nominated for CityBeat CEA 2009 - Best Rock / Hard Rock Band

Nominated for CityBeat CEA 2008 - Hard Rock / Metal Band

Supernova Battle of The Bands / Columbus OH 2008

OTHER:
Opened for Ted Nugent & Queensryche 2011