Mirk and The New Familiars
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Mirk and The New Familiars

Albany, New York, United States | INDIE

Albany, New York, United States | INDIE
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"Mirk and The New Familiars CD Release Part"

Mirk & The New Familiars, an Albany-based R&B/Soul/Hip-Hop/Pop band has announced the debut performance and release of its first album “LOVE” on Friday, February 13, 2009. The party and show will begin at 9:00pm and take place at The Red Square, Albany.


Mirk and The New Familiars, whose members have extensive writing, production, and performance experience in local and NYC groups have collaborated on this all-original, theme-based album. Their first single, “Forbidden”, was released along with accompanying music video on January 5, 2009. Band members include Joshua ‘Mirk’ Mirsky (lead vocals/producer, FCM), Mike Thornton (guitar/vocals, Kingscastle), Andy O’Brien (keyboards/vocals, Stickmen Play), Dan Gerken (bass/vocals, Timbre Coup), Carl Blackwood (drums), Steffan Frost (trumpet), and Chris Russell (saxophone).
- Mike Guzzo (Timesunion) Albany, NY


"Albany’s Mirk and the New Familiars ready to reach next level"

Mirk and the New Familiars are quickly making a name for themselves in Albany. With an upcoming second album and an invitation to the SXSW music festival, they have achieved much since their early 2009 inception.

Joshua ‘Mirk’ Mirsky wrote and produced their entire first album, “Love,” himself before compiling a group of six other musicians from networking, Craigslist, and other means to bring his project to fruition live. The result a year later is a cohesive group of musicians set to use their energetic live act to propel them into further success with a second yet to be titled album and a remake of “Love” with the entire group.

Mirk and the New Familiars sit down with the Albany Student Press to discuss the local Albany scene, their recent successes and even their connection to superstars Regina Spektor and Jay-Z.

AlbanyStudentPress: Describe your sound.

Mirk: I was just going for blending a lot of the music that I really loved growing up. I’m really into rich vocal harmonies. I think that’s not represented enough in the hip-hop world where I was coming from. Sam Cooke, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, original Nas and early Outkast and the “Love Below” was a big influence on me as well — it’s not all about how far back, it’s just about the classic-ness of the music. I just feel like genre binds people and you have to stay in a certain lane. I think we can do whatever we want, that’s the beauty of music — you can do whatever you want.

ASP: Tell me about the track you did for Jay-Z.

Mirk: I sampled Regina Spektor and then I put my own drums and bass line behind it. I made it like five years ago. The music industry is so finicky. As an independent producer I recorded with Busta Rhymes, Rah Digga and lots of people but tracks never made it anywhere though — people don’t realize artists will record like 100 or 50 songs for an album. They wanted to put it on “Blueprint 3” but they couldn’t get the sample cleared in time — they were gonna do it for a rerelease but “Blueprint 3” did so well that they were anticipating having to do a rerelease and now they don’t. He’s working on his new album and its supposedly going to be on the new album — he did an interview on MTV talking about how he’s got his new album going and he has one track done — I’d imagine that one track he’s talking about is “Crispy Benjamin’s.”

ASP: What are your thoughts on the SUNY Albany community?

Mirk: I’m surprised nobody has exploited you guys musically. There’s a HUGE community of college students that in general love music. There’s nobody in Albany really taking advantage of that crop of music listeners. It just hasn’t happened yet. There’s enough people at SUNY Albany alone, not to mention St. Rose and all the other large colleges in the area to get a really dope live music scene — nobody has taken advantage of that. I don’t get it. I think SUNY Albany has a ripe crop of music listeners. We’re very excited with how people have been responding.

ASP: What are some of your favorite venues?

Mirk: We all have favorite venues and we like different venues for different reasons. We can get really good sound at Red Square and its big enough to support a humongous show which we’ve done a couple of times. Lark Tavern is great because I grew up on Lark Street and we have a lot of friends in the area and at that bar specifically so we always have fun there. Justin’s we do a Tuesday night Justin’s show – we don’t promote it, we don’t tell anybody when it’s going to be, you just have to hear about it. It only happens on Tuesday and its once every four to six maybe. It’s like a secret show, we usually put out a Facebook invite, for that one we don’t. All the bartenders know about it.

Andy O’Brien (Keyboards): The people who work weekends. That’s been one of the core of our promotions. The people who work on Lark Street on the weekends, the waitstaff, whatever, they’ve been really supportive – that’s where it all happens, that’s where word kind of spreads on that corner and through those people who have been tremendously supportive of us. We did that originally as a birthday party for a bartender who works at Justin’s – we played on a Tuesday and we decided to make it a regular things because most of our shows are on weekends and the people that really support us have to work on those days.

Mirk: We stay there until like 1, 2 o’clock on a Tuesday you have to really want to be there. We broke into “Piano Man” randomly one night. I can’t tell you how many people come to our shows and are like ‘YO DO PIANO MAN!’ We don’t even do “Piano Man” that was that one show, bro. That was impromptu, Andy was wasted, he just started playing it – the whole band didn’t even play but the whole place was singing it.

AO: I don’t remember that at all.

ASP: Do you have one dream venue or dream concert that you want to play?

Mirk: Madison Square Garden. Or whatever the Knick is called now, the Times Union Center so we could be like hometown heroes. The Egg. Any of the real deal Albany venues.

Mike Thronton (guitars): I was going to say the Fuller Roadhouse, but that’s just me.

Mirk: Haha yeah, I want to play the Bayou on 80’s hair band night.

AO: I think playing the Palace Theatre for a hometown show in about a year would be amazing. Tour around for a year and play for like a thousand people. That would be an incredible experience. It’d be like a giant living room show. You could stay there for hours just listening looking at shit.

ASP: Do you ever wish you went to UAlbany?

Mirk: Purchase was a great experience. I wouldn’t have met Regina Spektor. So I probably wouldn’t have discovered her music necessarily. We had every class together. We were in all the same classes together. Mike the guitar player had classes with her too.

ASP: Is that weird seeing her kind of take off?

Mirk: I don’t know if you know the band Kiss Kiss but we went to school with those guys. Dan Deacon. Richie Casetellano the guitarist from Blue Oyster Cult.

ASP: Did you ever make a move on her?

Mirk: Nah nah nah, she’s an angel, she really is. She would bring you to tears in class – just her and a piano she would just make you cry. Just imagine getting a private Regina Spektor concert every week with like you and twelve other people in the class. Getting to hear all her demo’s and shit. Everybody knew she was going to be a superstar.

ASP: For someone reading this article who doesn’t know who you are, why should they listen to you?

Mirk: I would say so they can get on to what’s next – be part of what’s going to happen early. You hear about people the bands who make it, and overnight success but they’ve been doing it for years. The way people know about bands is spreading that word – I feel like we have a pretty good chance especially with the Jay Z record coming out and the other stuff we have on the table. Just our drive and the amount of work we’re putting in.

It’s all about continuing and pressing ahead even when shit doesn’t look like it’s going to work out. It’s all about perseverance – none of us are willing to give up. We just hit our year anniversary on February 13th. So if you really want to be down with some fresh underground shit that everyone is going to be talking about later now the time’s to do it.
- Irving DeJohn Albany Student Press


"Mirk of The New Familiar Music Group Produces track titled "Crispy Benjamins" Recently Acquired by Jay-Z"

November 11, 2009, New York, N.Y. – Joshua "Mirk" Mirsky of the popular Albany-based Pop-soul band Mirk & The New Familiars, recently produced a track titled, "Crispy Benjamins" (co-produced by Anthony Rich) that has been acquired by Jay-Z. As a producer and long-time fan of Jay-Z, working with him has been a thrilling experience for Mirk and he's extremely excited for the track's release.

"Crispy Benjamins" samples from Regina Spektor's 2004 single, "Chemo Limo" from her 2004 album Soviet Klitsch. " Says, Mirk, "I attended SUNY Purchase along with Spektor and have been a fan of her music for quite some time, hence the reason why I was inspired to use the sample from "Chemo Limo."

Says Co-Producer Anthony Rich, "Jay-Z originally purchased the track for The Blueprint 3 album. "Although it did not make the cut on that album, an executive for Jay-Z's Roc Nation imprint has confirmed with me that the song will be used on a re-release. We are extremely pleased to have sold the song to Jay-Z and Roc Nation."

The internet has been buzzing heavily about "Crispy Benjamins" which has also created huge interest in Mirk & The New Familiars. The group released their debut album, "LOVE" this past February 14, 2009. LOVE'S mix of catchy melodies and groove-oriented beats has earned the band a huge following and great buzz especially amongst the Capital Region scene. The seven-piece band combines everything from pop to hip-hop to old school R&B to surf rock. The group's debut performance and album release at Red Square on Feb. 13 sold out due to heavy promotion, including a video for the infectious "Forbidden" single. The video for "Forbidden" can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ee2awO8OT9A

Mirk & The New Familiars will be performing in 2010's South by Southwest Tour from March 12- 21, 2010. Their second album (Title TBD) is tentatively scheduled for a June 8, 2010 release date and will be released independently through New Familiar Records.

As a producer, Mirk has worked with Ciara producing the remix for "Never-Ever" featuring Yung Jeezy from her Fantasy Ride album; Petey Pablo producing "What You Know About It" from his gold selling album "Still Writing In My Diary: 2nd Entry" and Eamon's Platinum selling album "I Don't Want You Back." Mirk also plans on working with Kid Cudi, Salam Remy, Gnarles Barkley, Jack Splash, Mysto & Pizzie, Sam Sparrow, Curtains, Christian Rich and The Crookers.

- Hip Hop Press


Discography

Forbidden

Photos

Bio

Born and raised in Albany, Joshua "Mirk" Mirsky took an early passion for music by teaching himself piano and drums. Growing up he recorded hip-hop records while acting as a drummer for a local rock band. He then entered SUNY Purchase Music Conservator along with childhood friend Mike Thornton, where he eventually earned a master of music degree in studio composition. While at Purchase, Mirk took his hip-hop group FCM on tour while producing records for Grammy nominee Petey Pablo's Platinum album. After appearances on Billboard's Music Week convention in Miami, the group went their separate ways and Mirk began focusing on production and developing a new sound.

In late 2008, Mirk and Thornton constructed the band by individually selecting musicians, who would later be known as Mirk and the New Familiars. The 7-piece focuses on "futuristic retro" R&B pop sound, featuring rich vocal harmonies and colorful, tasteful instrumentation. Their debut album, “LOVE” was released on Valentine’s Day 2009, and it resulted in a sellout of the performance at the Red Square in Albany, NY

Since late 2009, the group's members collaborated with such artists as Jay-Z, Ciara, Anthony Hamilton, Yung Jeezy, Regina Spektor and Petey Pablo. In September of 2009, MTV News and Rolling Stone reported Jay-Z was releasing a track titled "Crispy Benjamins"; a track composed and produced by Mirk and sold to Jay-Z through New Familiar Music Group. The track features a sample of Regina Spektor and her song "Chemo Limo". The fact that Spektor SUNY Purchaseattended the Music Conservatory along with Mirk and Mike Thornton, and her acquaintance to the two led to the initial idea of using her voice for the hook. The record is believed to be released mid 2010/11 on ether a re-release of The Blueprint 3 or an entirely new album.

Mirk and the New Familiars' sophomore album, LOVE/LIVE (a 2pt trilogy) is scheduled for an early May 2010 release date and is reported to be a full-length, full band studio album, featuring full band arrangements of LOVE as well as new several new tracks