Spotlight to focus on local band at House of Blues
When Karma Kollective — a band that includes students and alumni from Cy-Fair and Seven Lakes high schools - performs April 8 at the House of Blues in Houston, the audience may well include representatives from local record labels.
It might seem odd that the 2-year-old band was chosen by the venue's promoter to open the show, hosted by KTBZ (94.5 FM) disc jockey Theresa, but with an electronically produced CD featuring five songs under its belt and several successful shows at the venue, it's easy to understand why the Karma Kollective is getting noticed by record label scouts.
"We all pursue music as a career. The music scene can be a very harsh world. Nothing is handed out; every opportunity you get comes from hard work," said bassist Jeremy Molinas, 18. "We have the talent, the chemistry and work ethic needed to evolve. Music runs all our lives."
The band has opened for acts like Marc Rizzo from Soulfly and From Guts to Glory. They also played a House of Blues show with Earshot, an alternative-rock band who has toured with Staind, Kid Rock and the Stone Temple Pilots.
While the band is from the Katy area, members said they like to play at Cypress venues like BFE because they have better sound equipment and a larger following with teens and young adults, whereas most Katy venues are directed toward an older crowd.
"There's little opportunity in Katy for young working bands," Molinas said. "Our crowd (is) everyday people trying to relax and get away from everyday life."
The band began in 2009 when Molinas and drummer Brian Moore, 17, began collaborating on songs. They came up with 12, choosing five that eventually made up their EP. Once vocalist Jessica Pratt, 19, and keyboardist Quinlan Rawles, 18, were brought into the project, the Karma Kollective was born - they even had the name copyrighted.
"Karma seems to fuel society. It's definitely made a huge presence in our lives," Molinas said. "And a collective of different personalities, music styles, experiences and opportunities is what we are."
Band members admit that they struggle to balance school, family life and work.
"Jess and I used to work, but don't anymore because we (didn't) have the time to focus on school and music," Molinas said. "Fortunately, all of our families have been incredibly supportive with us."
Each member continues to use school as a way to improve their music.
Molinas is a self-taught vocalist and bassist. Pratt has been taking vocal lessons for seven years, as well as music theory and audio engineering classes at Houston Community College.
Moore has been playing drums for three years and is in Advanced Placement music theory at Seven Lakes. Rawles is a classically trained pianist, has played guitar for four years and teaches theater classes at Cy-Fair High School in his spare time.
"All of our songs have acoustic or piano arrangements," Molinas said. "Structurewise, we're all about having hooks and building up to these incredible moments in a song where the energy between all the members of the band is undeniable."
The band focuses on allowing their fans to define what their sound is, believing that they can't be put into one music genre. They say they are inspired by groups such as the alterative-rock band Staind, Indie-rock band Minus the Bear and progressive-rock band Dream Theater.
While the band is interested in signing with a record label, especially with a new full-length album planned to release sometime in the future, members are tight-lipped about who they have heard from.
"We're looking for some kind of record deal to finance the album, because as complex as the layering and songwriting is, this will be an expensive labor of love," Molinas said. "The person who is helping us out big time right now is Rohit Patil, a great engineer who's recording our two new singles at SugarHill Studios. We've grown drastically; much more experimental with our sound ... while creating something fun to listen to."
The House of Blues is at 1204 Caroline St.
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