Interview with Roger Blevins of Mingo Fishtrap
In anticipation of Mingo Fishtrap‘s upcoming show at The Hamilton in DC on Wednesday, June 28, 2016 at the Hamilton we spoke with Roger Blevins on a variety of topics ranging from Austin to music influences to the band’s history.
We are also giving away a pair of free tickets to the concert. To enter the contest click here and fill out the form and tell us why you’d like to see Mingo Fishtrap. For ticketing and event info, click here.
Motown or Stax? and Why?
That’s cruel. Impossible. Gotta have both. The musicality and cool subtle things that they did at Motown shaped the future of pop music. And the raw emotion of Otis and the Stax lineup, that’s unparalleled to me.
In what ways does the city of Austin challenge you musically? Being around great artists must push your playing right?
Mingo doesn’t play in town too often, but every time we’re home you want it to be a killer show. There’s a diverse scene in Austin and the bar is set pretty high, so we want people to leave like “Holy shit!” and make that connection, musically and emotionally. The group of musicians who we know there – folks who the Mingo guys play with when we’re not doing our thing – is pretty incredible.
Could you talk about the bands roots in Denton, TX and your formal and informal music training leading up to that point?
Up until UNT I didn’t have much formal training outside of high school choir. I grew up with a father who was a working bassist, so I feel lucky to have grown up with a lot of soul and funk in the house. My grandmother would play organ – mostly hymns and early 20th century pop songs. So, there was a lot of music around. Everyone in the band came up in high school band or choir. We’re all nerds.
You all have noted that these days it is “more the song” than intense “bombastic arrangements”. Could you tell us you how can to have a greater appreciation for the “feel” of the song vs the technicality of the arrangement?
I think it’s just a question of highlighting what’s important at that moment in the tune and trying to make the sound match the sentiment. There’s no one “right” thing, of course. But the entire band is trying to communicate; with the listener, with each other…so it’s a balance. Give and take and all that. There’s a time to play something that’s technically “impressive”. But too much of that, or too much crap happening in the arrangement, and the sentiment & focus can get lost, I think.
What bands on the funk, soul, & roots scene are you most admiring these days?
I love Allen Stone. Crazy good writing happening there. He is a disciple of Stevie Wonder. And his band is ridiculous. We’ve been friends with The Motet for a couple years now, and actually their new vocalist, Lyle Divinsky, is a longtime friend of Dane, our keys guy. They are badass and great people. Lettuce, Soulive and all the projects that camp has going…Nigel Hall and Eric Krasno. Tedeschi Trucks Band leaves my jaw on the floor every time we see them. This could go on forever…hehe…
What are you most looking forward to this tour?
Just playing! Most of the shows and fests on this run are repeats for us, so seeing friendly faces and meeting new folks. We’re trying out some new things and getting ready for a European tour in August/Sept. It’s kinda a crazy summer, and that’s a good thing!