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Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF
Band Rock Pop


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"NYC's Death + Taxes Interview"

It didn�t take long for 13-year-old DJ Murphy to realize being a figure skater wasn�t the best way to get girls. So in hormone-fueled persistence, he tried something else�playing music. Girls like guys in bands, right?

Sixteen years later, on a hazy, spring-warm Saturday evening in New York City�s Pianos, singer and keyboardist Ben Elkins stood on stage with his band Heypenny�a band he�d created with guitarist Kevin Bevil, drummer Aaron Distler, and bassist DJ Murphy, a figure skater no more. Murphy, drenched in a sex, drugs and rock-and-roll kind of sweat, his scarlet Japanese Epiphone bass swinging on his shoulder, leaped to the microphone and proclaimed to the crowd, �Hey, we�re a band called Heypenny, and we were born from the head of Zeus!�

Murphy and the rest of Heypenny, all dressed in creamy pastel-colored marching band uniforms Murphy�s mom custom-made for them, shared an amicable laugh as he amended, �I mean, we come from Nashville.�

But it�s a fact that should be taken as no anticlimax. The amazingly unique and talented Tennessee pop-rock quartet Heypenny plays without inhibitions, taking the focus of concerts back where it really belongs�on the theatrics, the sound, and the pure joy of music. They aren�t concerned with any rock star style superficiality�they�re going to wear possibly the single most unflattering piece of clothing in the world. They aren�t worried about maintaining a fa�ade of cool, aloof musicians�they�re going to scream and stomp and dance, damn it, the whole show through. And no, they are not worried about impressing girls anymore�well, maybe they are, but in the endearingly adorable way only boys in marching band uniforms can pull off.

Death+Taxes sat down with Heypenny at a sunny picnic table in New York City to discuss the reason behind the uniform, robot coloring books, and the inspiration of Boyz II Men. Find all that and more after the jump.

Ben Elkins called Death+Taxes from the road, lamenting their inevitable tardiness to the interview�from Philadelphia, they had gone south instead of north.

�We�re not that good at geometry,� he explained apologetically, his words bent with a tiny Southern twang, as distant groans and shouts of �Geography! It�s geography!� could be heard from inside the van. With a quiet chuckle, Elkins hung up, and the band soon arrived, offering hugs instead of handshakes.

Perhaps the friendliness comes from their roots of Southern hospitality. Elkins and Murphy, both raised in Arkansas, met during their time at the University of Arkansas, where they dabbled in playing music together. A few years later, Elkins moved to Nashville to play with Bevil, and Murphy moved to Oregon to attend graduate school with his wife.

�[Ben] called me on the phone one day and said, �Why don�t you move halfway across the country to play bass in a band, and you�re not going to get paid anything for a really long time,�� Murphy said, explaining how he ended up playing with Elkins and Bevil in Nashville. �And I said, �Yeah, let�s do that!�

�I moved to Nashville just to play with Ben, because I loved his music so much. It�s, without exaggeration, the most original music I�ve ever heard. And I can say that because I don�t write any of it.�

Though Elkins has remained the sole songwriter for the band, his songs have gone from tricky, jazzy jam-band tunes to the tight, pop-rock quips that define the Heypenny sound today.

�I kind of tried to do this jam band thing, and that�s when Kevin and I first started playing music together,� Elkins explained. �For that musical project I wanted to record an album, and have some songs put together.�

�So I bought a computer, and started recording in my house, and various places around town�other people�s houses, and a neat old church, stuff like that. And that took about nine months, and really from the start of that to the end of that nine months, this band Heypenny was created. Somewhere in the middle it was like, This has become something else, and I like it a lot better, and other people�people whose musical opinion I respect, liked it a lot, and could notice that this is something new. So that first album is really a kind of live experience, in being alive, and there�s some notes of what the old music was and there�s some notes of the new music.�

Use These Spoons, Heypenny�s debut and only album to date, ranges across the entire spectrum of Heypenny�s evolving sound, from the trickier, earlier songs to the cleaner, younger tunes. �Secreterror� lurks with off-kilter, off-tempo sounds, weirdly winding, synthesized melodies and almost whispered libretto, a sound the band associa - Death and Taxes


The orchestral chamber rock that made Sufjan Stevens king of the indie world is brought to mind with Heypenny, the way-under-the-radar band that’s the creative outlet for Ben Elkins, a Fayetteville native now living in Nashville, Tenn. Interestingly, Elkins, who sang and wrote all of the songs on Use These Spoons, has a voice that will remind you of Stevens — only it’s sweeter and easier on the ears. Heypenny’s sound is indie pop, but not in any narrow sense. This is expansive music with lots of keyboard flourishes and eccentric touches, like when a ceiling fan is turned into a drum. You can hear The Beatles in “Dooly,” the marvelously cracked story about a love-sick boy who tries to escape a meeting with a crush on a moped. You can hear funk seep through the smartly constructed “Brave” and “Secreterror.” The gorgeous “Walnut Street Bridge” feels beamed in from a better, brighter planet. Just a warning, you will not find Use These Spoons on iTunes, so go to www.heypenny.com and thank me later.
- Arkansas Democrat Gazette

"Heypenny: Album of the Year"

Heypenny is the newest musical identity of multi-instrumentalist Ben Elkins. He moved to Chattanooga in 2002 and used to play in a sort of jam band (“more often just a duo,” he says) called Kingfisher that once opened at Nightfall. Not many of his friends in local bands (folks like Isaac Wardell, Jairus and the Totten brothers) were too keen on his sound, however, and they started giving him some indie rock stuff to listen to.

“So, I was liking this indie stuff more and more,” says Elkins, “but I was still in the jam band phase and wanted to do a slick album in the studio.”

And so do one he did. Sort of.

After exploring bigger, more costly and less patient recording options, Elkins decided to record Use These Spoons (available at Chad’s) at home on the cheap and on the slow, eliciting help from some folks from the same circles (John Totten, Kevin Bevil, Jim Tate, Charles Allison, Rachel Billingsley and others). And while their individual and collective contributions can be felt, Elkins goes it alone on five of the album’s ten tracks, crafting something more like Todd Rundgren’s Something/Anything? than something from The Shins or anything by Widespread Panic. The album is a hand-carved gem, effortlessly sliding in and out of an alluring assortment of textures and melodies.

Primarily a guitarist, Elkins went back to the piano and keyboards in forming the foundation of Use These Spoons. But he started on violin when was three years old. Then he took drum lessons. The boy can sing, too. All of his musical training and tastes come pouring out on the album.

The set opens with “Dooley,” a bouncy, organ-flung pop number. “Parade” imagines Self and Wilco trying to beat the Flaming Lips in a contest to write the coolest decuple-tracked vocal part pop song ever. “Seems So Small” starts as a whispery folk tune about failure before it jumps into an almost symphonic (featuring, yes, a string quartet) lament about the same. “Let It Rain” is a quieter shade of pale, while “Everything Is Brighter” channels a happier Nick Drake. “Secreterror” is an infectiously funky, danceable number set to some famous last words before a fight. “Brave” foreshadows a similar fight, this time portrayed in the spirit of Peter Gabriel-era Genesis.

“Walnut St. Bridge” is a breezy ode to love on the Tennessee River, while “Radio” is a prettier, thicker and slower “Hey Jude” without the singalong plea.

The engaging songwriting notwithstanding, it’s the homespun presentation of the material that sucks you in. But even with such glorious results, Elkins himself is not so sure.

“It would sound better if it was re-recorded in better settings, but John Baldwin, who mastered it here in Nashville, says he thinks that re-doing it in a nice studio would take away from the character he came to love about it. Sometimes the best stuff is created when you don’t have the right tools.”

Elkins and his wife Erika moved to Nashville in August and a copy of Use These Spoons made its way into the hands of the higher-ups at Rough Trade. And while the label has yet to show any interest in buying the album, Elkins is currently co-producing an album for Rough Trade artist Cerys Matthews.

Heypenny is actually a full-fledged band now, too. The lineup (featuring Bevil on guitar, Jeff Irwin on bass and McKendree Tucker on drums) augments Elkins’ three-keyboard stage setup (“I’d lug around a real piano if I was a lot stronger,” he says) and leaves him beaming about future shows after the band got its feet wet at a brief, four-song appearance in November at New Faces Night at Nashville’s Basement. (They’re planning a February show in Chattanooga.)

“I’m very excited about the live show. It’s going to be more than some guys playing a set of songs on some stage, I’ll say that. Preparations are slow going, but soon we’ll have time and I’m very, very excited.”

As are we.
- -Chattanooga Pulse

"Artist Profile:Heypenny"

Audacious claim: Heypenny are the best band you’ve never heard. But I don’t mean that in the way the mainstream media gives any band on an indie label and not on the radio this title. Yeah, The New York Times called The Hold Steady the best band you’ve never heard in 2005, but face it; nearly all of you have heard The Hold Steady and whatever other band these major publications assume you’ve never heard. But Heypenny deserves this title, because, due to what must be the result of some astronomical error somewhere in the solar system, Heypenny are not only unsigned, but - with the exception of Zack’s post on them last month on All Things Go - even the omnipresent blogosphere is bereft of any mention of them.Thus, chances are, unless you’ve had the luck of stumbling across their MySpace page or have seen them perform in the Nashville area, your ears have never been graced by the glory and brilliance that is the music of Heypenny. Heypenny are the product of creator, lead singer, co-producer, and all-around mastermind Ben Elkins (pictured above), who began writing what would become the songs on Heypenny’s incredible debut, Use These Spoons, in 2003. Use These Spoons, unofficially released in 2005, is an absolutely remarkable album, and had I heard it last year I can assure you it would have been firmly entrenched towards the top of my Top 25 Albums of 2005 list. Elkins cites Wilco, The Beatles, and Iron & Wine as some of the artists that influence Heypenny, who get their name from those “Give a penny, take a penny” trays at American convenience stores (called Ha’penny in the south), but many of the songs on the album conjure up more accurate comparisons to The Decemberists, The Unicorns and at times even shades of Bends-era Radiohead. That said, the diversity of the songs on the album is Spoons’ finest strength. First track, “Dooley”, sounds like The Beatles singing lyrics borrowed from Colin Meloy’s songbook, while “Let It Rain” and “Walnut St. Bridge” (both of which are available for download here at All Things Go) slow things down and reflect the Iron & Wine influence, and standout track “Brave” was immediately reminescent of Radiohead’s “Just” for me, though I can’t necessarily pinpoint why. However, I by no means wish to give the impression that Heypenny are merely stealing and rehashing the styles of other bands, as that is most definitely not the case. No two songs on Spoons’ better exemplify the undeniably unique style of Heypenny than “Secreterror”, on which Ben plays a ceiling fan as an instrument, and “Parade”. The latter of these two masterpieces is easily one of the best songs of the last few years, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more enjoyable five minutes of music anywhere (seriously). You know what, this just in: “Parade” is so good it gets it’s own paragraph.

“Parade” opens with a slow, brief intro, before erupting into a cacophony of exuberance and enjoyment. Though the instrumentation is unique and the top-notch production sets it apart from other songs of the lo-fi indie-pop genre, Elkins appears to channel the whimsical stylings of The Unicorns in the vocals and lyrics here (sample lyric: “I. Like. Chocolate cake./Bring me a few pieces… Make a fist, cram the chocolate in/Yeah, it tastes bloody, but you keep mashing it down”… brilliant). “Parade” and the aforementioned “Secreterror”, as well as “Seems So Small” (which features a strings section), are great testaments to the astounding production of the album, which was produced by Elkins, who worked along side Charles Allison, and is some of the finest lo-fi production in recent memory, on par with Isaac Brock’s recent work for Wolf Parade on Apologies To The Queen Mary.

As you’ve probably gathered, I really like Heypenny and think they’re pretty great. Unfortunately, Ben and the gang have no formal plans to tour outside of the Nashville area until at least mid-to-late April, but in Zack’s excellent interview with him he described the Heypenny live experience as a cross between “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood on PBS and avalanches on Discovery Channel”, so you should definitely do everything you can to see them if the opportunity presents itself. I can’t [highly recommend] buying Use These Spoons enough, and you can do so here or at select indie record stores in the Nashville and Chattanooga area. Though relatively unknown now, Heypenny have world domination on their to-do list, and with a debut album like this, you can expect them to follow through.
- -Good Weather for Airstrikes

"Heypenny and my trek to Music City"

Just got home from a trip to Nashville to see The Selmanaires and My Relationship with Gravity play at The Basement. Great show, and all indications suggest my recordings turned out quite well. Gotta love small venues with great sound.

Before leaving Nashville today, I spent a couple hours at Grimey's, a kickass record store on 8th Street in the city. While I was there, I asked the staff for some recommendations with regard to local artists I might like. They were happy to oblige. One such artist that I was told to check out is Heypenny. I bought their debut album, Use These Spoons, and listened to it a good 4-5 times on the way back to Atlanta. My other purchases (Old Time Relijun, Giant Sand, Ladybug Transistor, Liz Durrett) just weren't cutting it as driving music.

Heypenny is primarily the project of Ben Elkins, though it has since expanded into a full band. Heypenny apparently came to Nashville via Chattanooga and has been getting a lot of attention locally; the Chattanooga Pulse named Heypenny's Use These Spoons its local album of the year for 2005. Elkins explained to the Chattanooga Pulse that the album was very much a DIY project, but the production is still solid in the end. The liner notes say tunes were recorded in "several homes, a church, and a performance hall in Chattanooga." One has to wonder if the album would have retained its personality if it had been recorded in a proper studio.

I hear shades of Beulah, Of Montreal, Slow Runner, and Rogue Wave in the album. Maybe some Sufjanesque theatrics and restrained vocals as well. While solidly in the indie pop genre, Use These Spoons includes an array of sounds and styles. There are strings, an organ, and a gaggle of guest vocalists. Here are a couple of tracks to give you a taste:

Heypenny - Secreterror
Heypenny - Walnut St. Bridge

By the way, listen for when Elkins "plays" a ceiling fan in "Secreterror." How cool is that?
- Cable and Tweed

"Heypenny: Parade"

“If LCD Soundsystem didn't realise anyone was listening, or if that sequence where all the cards jump off the deck at the end of solitaire were a song, it might sound like this (Parade).”
- Said the Gramaphone

"Heypenny CopCar Single Review"

How can you go wrong with fun, upbeat pop, that makes you want to dance? Ok I know that happy chart friendly tracks aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, to be honest it’s far from my comfort zone, but I couldn’t help but fall in love with ‘Copcar’ the first time it graced my unsuspecting ears.

The three from Nashville, Tennessee, have produced a quirky track that’s full of character. It’s catchy and hits all the right spots. The key to the song is in it’s simplicity. The straightforward drum pattern, rolling bass and catchy vocals, make for interesting listening, and more importantly form a track that feels highly original. Heypenny will be looking to win over UK fans with the release, and it doesn’t seem like they will have much of a problem. The single is the lead track of a 4-track EP, on sale now from the band’s website. It’s released in the form of a 12 page colouring book based on the Video for ‘Copcar’. The group are obviously out to have fun and make enjoyable music, so pop over to the band’s myspace page: www.myspace.com/heypenny or simply check out the video for ‘Copcar’ by following the link below. A great video, epitomising what independant music is all about; creating great interesting ideas on a minimal budget. - Music.co.uk

"Mixtape Atlanta Artist Spotlight"

Mixtape Atlanta talks with singer/ songwriter Ben Elkins of Heypenny about their music and upcoming set at the BMI Rock Showcase tonight, August 27, at Vinyl.

Mixtape Atlanta: The story of your personal musical development is an interesting one. You started out with more of a jammy sound, then moved into more indie rock influences. How did that happen?

Ben Elkins: It happened in Chattanooga.It was just me back then, and I wanted to get some people to play with me, but little did I know that the jammy thing wasn’t what people were interesting in doing any more. And I didn’t have any idea about all the really amazing indie music going on. I just wasn’t clued in to any of that. And my friend Chris and a couple of others starting passing recordings off to me, like The Shins record and The Arcade Fire, and I saw the Wilco documentary, things like that. There were a couple of years of a really great music scene in Chattanooga. I was on the outside observing it, but definitely was influenced by it and got more interested in simpler rhythms, finding something good and pounding away at it. I used to think that a song has to be changing all the time, and tricky and impressive and wowing people. But when I sat down at a piano and played one chord over and over for awhile, that felt better to me.

MA: On your first record, you played a lot of those instruments yourself.

BE: Yeah, that was like a real growing stage for me. And then, when the record was done, my whole goal of my life was to put together the right band. Kevin, our guitar player, was on board from the beginning. He’s kind of the closest guy to the project, and always has been. The two of us went through lots of bass players and drummers, but now we’ve got this super solid core four-piece. We love playing with each other. Then there are about six other people, depending on how many horns and backup singers we go with. And they’re starting to become a more important part of the band too, so it’s kind of this big monster. One show we did recently at Mercy Lounge in Nashville, we had fifteen people on stage.

MA: You ‘re going to be The Polyphonic Spree before long.

BE: (Laughs) Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised. It just works really well with the music. It’s a big sound. Vocally, especially, there’s usually 5-6 vocals on the recording, and it’s really magical to do that live.

MA: Who are you bringing down to the show tonight? What kind of sound can we expect?

BE: A little horn section and two backup singers, so there will be eight of us. We have our new uniforms too.

MA: Uniforms?

BE: Yeah, we have these insane outfits we wear. It feels like 80% of being in this band has nothing to do with music. We’re always working on costumes or sets or whatever. For our EP release, we did this huge night here in Nashville. We had artists painting these 8-foot tall canvases based on the coloring book that we released the record in. That’s how we like to do it, we like you to know from the time you walk in the door you know you’re at a Heypenny show. If we had the means we’d cook Heypenny food too. We want it to be a whole experience.

MA: A full-senses extravaganza.

BE: Exactly. I don’t understand why more bands don’t do that, put on an actual show. I mean, you’re on a stage. And with all the history of people putting on shows on stage, I think you’re missing out on a lot if you just go out there like you’ve just stepped out of an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog.

MA: Okay Ben, what song would have to be on your ultimate mixtape?

BE: For me I’ll go with "American Tune" by Paul Simon. For Kevin, "Learning to Fly" by Tom Petty. - http://www.mixtapeatlanta.com/2009/08/bmi-showcase-spotlight-heypenny.html

"Summer Successes Push Heypenny to Top Concert"

Crazy costumes are one facet of band’s individuality

By Jessica Pace

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Published: Saturday, August 29, 2009

Updated: Saturday, August 29, 2009

Wherever Nashville-based band Heypenny goes, a flair for entertainment and eye-grabbing performances are sure to follow. As keyboardist/vocalist Ben Elkins, guitarist Kevin Bevil, bassist DJ Murphy and drummer Aaron Distler sit back stage, people duck in and out contributing to the friendly conversation.

This possibly owes to the fact that the warm and affable vibes Heypenny projects on stage is apparent in the band’s personalities offstage, or maybe it is because conversation strays from the questions and leads off into the reminiscing of car rides with the band and memorable Nashville shows.

“When Ghostfinger played here for Next Big Nashville, they went out with a piñata and gave everyone Whiffle Ball bats and played death metal and had people just go at it,” Distler laughs. “I’ll take that to my grave,” he

adds seriously.

The shows they have played over the course of the summer exemplify that fact. First there was the Road to Bonnaroo competition, where Heypenny paraded through the crowd toward the stage dressed in vaguely Sergeant Pepper-esque marching band uniforms in popping pastels.

A set played at Bonnaroo in June followed an experience detailed in humble awe on Heypenny’s MySpace. Then in early August, the EP “CopCar” was formally released at Mercy Lounge, similar to previous shows in that Heypenny has a blatant tendency to take the word “entertain” to the extreme.

Heypenny is one of those bands that spring from Nashville. Every show is conducted in a wildly convivial fashion – whether the band is donning bright, candy-colored trench coats or playing covers such as Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” or Harry Nillson’s “Coconut.”

The music coordinates well with a loud appearance and oddball charm: key-oriented and glittery melodies mix with stiff-sounding vocals in a Beck-meets-Dr. Seuss kind of way. “Oh No,” which can be found on the EP “CopCar,” is one witty and whimsical example of classic Heypenny quirk. It is dominated by Elkins’ choppy, minimally melodic voice over keys. “Parade” has the same bizarre appeal, with simplistic, mechanical-sounding verses alternated with smooth, dreamy breaks on the keys.

Elkins makes little attempt at poetry, arranging words in a familiar way that comes off as though he could easily be saying the lyrics rather than singing them.

Like many local bands, they dance further outside the questionable boundaries of “indie-rock” with what they’re doing. Like older brothers trying to entertain a younger sibling, the shocking caliber of exuberance in the music and delivery is hysterical and endearing. Their sound, appearance and stage shows portray Heypenny as the “fun-loving, youthful, jovial kind of band” that Bevil describes.

But as far as full-length albums are concerned, Heypenny hasn’t gotten there yet. “It takes a lot of money and a lot of other stuff we’re not real good at,” Elkins adds. Currently, the band’s money goes mostly towards shows. “It takes less money to create a good show,” Murphy

says plainly.

Heypenny’s most recent blowout live event was the early-August EP release party for “CopCar,” a four-track compilation including a demo of the erratic, up-tempo title track and a coloring book. The band says the idea for a coloring book first arose when the “Parade,” video was shot, featuring the band once again in pastel marching band uniforms and in some scenes dancing through a high school hallway. When Elkins returned to the high school to speak with the band director, the kids expressed such an interest in learning the dance featured in “Parade.” The band was struck with an idea for instructional coloring books.

The idea finally manifested with the EP release. Included were pictures of robots and other images from the “CopCar” video hand-drawn by Murphy, who also built and painted 12 5-foot by 8-foot canvases with images from the coloring book to create a show that could trump Road to Bonnaroo.

The coloring book robots also made an appearance in the video for “CopCar,” created with the group Paper Beats Rock and featuring more Heypenny dancing.

“This last show,” Elkins laughs, referring to the EP release, “It’s really ridiculous how many hours we spent

on that.”

They have to. Any band that wants to last can no longer cut it through pigeonholed music and a typical show. Bands are going to greater lengths to make a show an experience, and some are releasing albums and EPs free of charge.

“To survive in a band these days, you have to figure out new and unconventional ways of putting out music,” Bevil says, “The old model doesn’t work


In the name of survival, Heypenny has poured “millions of hours” into really making a show just that – a show, and exhibiting the “controlled immaturity,” - http://www.mtsusidelines.com/features/summer-successes-push-heypenny-to-top-concert-1.326412


By releasing their Copcar EP available from July 27th 2009, on Guerrilla Music, Heypenny are plotting to plant themselves permanently in the hearts of UK music fans. With their staccato indie-pop sound this won't be a difficult task. To hear Heypenny is to love them.

Each song they do is brought to life through their imagery and videos. The Copcar video epitomizes everything an independent music video should be - Low on budget and high on personality. After the snowballing popularity of their Parade video on YouTube, it was clear that a standard had been set for their future efforts, and again they've again stepped up to the plate; the theme this time is robots, the outfits are phenomenal!

When performing live they're no plug in and play sort of band. Live shows are treated with the same level of attention as their music, artwork, and visuals, and in true Heypenny style they also have themes running through them. Their current show is based around the marching band idea from their Parade release, including dramatic stage entrances, brilliant costumes, and even a live marching band.

Created from the bedroom project of vocalist/keys man Benjamin Elkins, who self-released what was essentially a solo album (Use These Spoons) in 2006 to many nods of approval in blog world. His full 4 piece band was finally born when he moved to Nashville and teamed up with bassist DJ Murphey whose dance moves developed Heypenny's performances into an explosive live show, winning them fans across the Chicago, New York, and London.

I think there may be something in the water in Nashville, while already established as the American home of country music, there's also a thriving and competitive alternative scene co-existing in the state capital. Of this scene, Heypenny stand head and shoulders above their peers. To be fair, with the effort and style they deploy into everything they do, they stand taller than most bands ever could.

- http://www.ilikemusic.com/indie/Heypenny_Copcar_EP-7388


Tendre EP (2011)
A Jillion Kicks (2011)
Cop Car EP (2009) Guerilla Music (UK)
Parade single (2008) Guerrilla Music (UK)
Use These Spoons (2005)

The song "Parade" from A Jillion Kicks was used in a 2011 Honda Commercial titled "Lineup".

A new demo song called "40 Watt" debuted on Lightening 100 (Nashville) on Aug 31, 2012.



Though mostly known for country music royalty--the likes of Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash--Nashville has a flourishing indie-rock scene, that along with the neighborhood streets, hills, and woods, make a perfect place for Heypenny to create their world of indie-pop-fun-rock.

Three years ago, Ben Elkins lived about 150 miles south of Nashville in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He experimented with sounds and spaces and new ways of writing songs. Through these efforts, Heypenny was born and an album called Use These Spoons was completed. Soon after, Elkins relocated to Nashville, TN and recruited long-time friends Kevin Bevil, DJ Murphy and Aaron Distler to complete the 4-piece.

Though never fully distributed, Use These Spoons made waves in the blogosphere and garnered accolades throughout the region/country/Western hemisphere for its pop-infused balance of rhythm, harmony, and DIY brilliance, ultimately selling out of all their pressings.

What started out as a quiet, solitary and patient endeavor has over the last year erupted into a staccato-rock band that finds company with contemporaries, while channeling the pop-appeal of Michael Jackson, and the naivete of Sesame Street.

The band, who has been known to dress in tailor-made Neapolitan-colored marching band uniforms or futuristic LEGO-MAN/robot outfits, put on an explosively energetic live rock show that rivals most. And it's their DIY aesthetic, the attention to detail--those custom, hand-made uniforms to the old-fashioned, big-knobbed, wood-paneled television sets that bathe the audience in abstract colors, flashing and pulsing with the songs--that gives the audience an actual show.

At Bonnaroo, the band was thrown into an unforgiving slot, performing opposite Yeah Yeah Yeah's, Grizzly Bear and Santigold, yet they still managed to attract quite a crowd and leave them with an impression. Graham Hawthorne, drummer for David Byrne emailed the band after their performance and said that he happily stumbled onto the set and that it was perhaps "the best thing he saw at the festival."

It's little things like that, going in as the underdog and winning the hearts, minds and ears of strangers that keeps them going and makes them pour everything they have into perfecting their craft and giving their fans something memorable.

Heypenny will be recording a new record with producer Craig Alvin (Colourmusic, Hanson) in fall of 2013 and will be releasing it in partnership with a well known Nashville based clothing brand.