A few months ago we received an album from the 500 Club called Pacifica. I threw it on my phone to check out and listened to it a few times while I was at the gym (my favorite place to truly evaluate music). I liked the album, it was straight forward rock and roll with great lyrics, definitely something I could appreciate. What I didn't realize was that I was actually getting an advance listen, as the album wasn't even out yet. So, when I realized it was being released this Friday at the New Dodge, I knew I had to share this discovery with all of you.
I got a chance to talk to Ben Keeler and ask him a little about his music, including why he moved back to Detroit after spending a few years on the West Coast. You can read what he had to say and then check out Pacifica for yourself. If you like what you hear head up to the New Dodge this Friday at to see 500 Club perform alongside The Kickstand Band and, my obsession, the incredible James Linck. Ben promises this will be a high energy show that is well worth the $5 they are charging to get in. Doors are at 9 p.m. and the New Dodge is located at 8850 Joseph Campau in Hamtramck.
Hip In Detroit- How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
Ben- "Guitar driven upbeat indie jukes. Almost exactly what you expect, when you don't expect it; over some cool chords, rock and roll."
Hip In Detroit- Where did you record this album?
Ben- "We recorded in a few different spots. Initial tracking was done at our buddy’s house in the Lansing area, five minutes from where we grew up. Big tall wooden cathedral ceilings, real nice for
drums. From there we finished at our very small basement studio in Royal Oak and did a session at Tempermill in Ferndale. Mixed and Mastered by Andy Reed in Bay City.
Hip In Detroit- Why did you call it Pacifica?
Ben- "I churned up the idea for the album and wrote most of it while living in San Francisco, California. It’s about the trip out there and the strange things that come from moving to the west coast. So we wanted the album name to allude to that theme. Thought ‘Pacifica’ was pretty nice aesthetically and captured that feeling. It’s also the name of a town on the coast that I always saw the sign for, but only drove through once."
Hip In Detroit- What's your favorite track off the new album and why?
Ben- "Tough to say, but “The Wall” snuck up on being one of my favorites. It was one of the first songs I wrote for the album, and the lyrics came together rather easily. We actually demoed it out over skype between SF and Detroit. During tracking it was kinda on the backburner, but after finishing it, the simplicity of the tune grew on me. Plus we had some friends do guest vocals on it, major charm points."
Hip In Detroit- Why did you ask James Linck and The Kickstand Band to open the show for you? Ben- "We were at the New Dodge one night and I asked James if he’d do it and he’s all “yeah I’ll do it”, and the Kickstand Band was sitting right next to us and I asked them, and they’re like “totally”. Then we all took a shot of Fireball with Desmond. We played some of our first shows in Detroit with both acts and we are fans of them."
Hip In Detroit- Ben, why did you move back to Detroit after having some success in the music business on the West Coast?
Ben- "There are a few things, but mostly because my best buds and musical brethren lived here in Michigan. David Dionise plays drums in the band and we produced the album together. Michael Schartow engineered it. We knew we had the resources to make it happen here. I also had a job opportunity to work on the film sets that have been coming through MI. It seemed like the right move at the time. Not to mention, there are some really exciting things happening in Detroit. The amount of talent here is completely righteous."
Hip In Detroit- If you could change one thing on the new album what would it be?
Ben- "I wouldn't change much, it's exactly what its supposed to be. We really refined the songs. Did a bunch of demoing and detailing, so its very polished. That is what we wanted and we learned a lot. It
did take a lot longer to get it out than we hoped, which was partly due to that production approach, and a lot to do with funding. So next time around, we'll do it a bit more organic and live, and we'll have money. Tons of it..."
Hip In Detroit- Why should someone give you there hard earned money to see you perform live at the album release?
Ben- "First and foremost its gonna be a party with great music all night. We put high energy into our live show, and James and Kickstand band are really good at what they do. It's a culmination of many things for us, and we are ready to unleash the album onto your ears. Drinks are also good and cheap at New Dodge and we all get rowdy."
Hip In Detroit- What are your favorite local venues, restaurants, and bars?
Ben- "New Dodge is our drinking spot, Taqueria El Rey in Southwest for Mexican, Royal Kabob for Middle Eastern, Bronx for Burgers and Bloody Mary's, Magic Stick and Lager House for shows."
Hip In Detroit- Anything else you want our readers to know?
Ben- "Album will be available on iTunes and Spotify. We want to play you in foosball and pingpong. www.500clubmusic.com.