The State Of Music: Part 36: Kansas - Interior Sea

I am reaching the stage in this 50 part adventure where I am starting to forget how I discovered each band. Was it through my own steam? A reader suggestion? Hunting through blogs based in a particular state?. I guess in the general scheme things, it really does not matter. But I do like to give credit where credit is due. Either way, when I first hear Interior Sea I felt they would be a perfect addition to The State Of Music, although there was the initial worry that with their only album to date being released in 2010 - they could have disbanded by the time I got to them.

Lucky for me, they were actually in the middle of recording a new album which is due for release in the next few months. So for now, enjoy Interior Sea's self titled début, or check them out at The State Of Music SXSW Showcase at J.Blacks Feel Good Lounge.

CMM: Welcome to Choose My Music. I suppose the first question is - who are Interior Sea and where in the world would we find you?

Originally a Topeka, Kansas-based duo, Interior Sea over the last few years has grown into a four-piece alternative/indie rock band with original songs about love, loss, and memory within the Midwest. Members are Justin Marable (guitar/vocals), Brian “Bean” Langham (drums/vocals), Ben Alford (bass guitar), and Sam Smith (guitar)

CMM: How long has the group been together and how did it all start?

In 2009 Interior Sea was created from Marable’s songs about Midwestern memories, present day realities, and hope for the earth and humanity. The band’s name stemmed from his monthly travels over the High Plains of Kansas, which, at one time, was an inland sea. It also represents the emotional struggles for balance in an ever-changing sea of society.

As neighbors, Justin Marable & Justin Hocking (Interior Sea’s original drummer) began playing in the basement of Hocking’s home.

They were soon connected to Ben Alford. In Ben’s home recording studio, all three embarked on an experimental, challenging , and fun process of creating their first self-titled album, Interior Sea. With lots of sweat and heart, in the heat of Ben’s old Queen Anne Victorian attic, they created a work of simple beauty and melodic poetry about the bittersweet condition of our human hearts and contemporary world.

In February 2011, Brian Langham, a.k.a. Bean, joined the group as Hocking's priorities shifted. In Fall 2011, singer/songwriter Sam Smith was invited to add another layer of sound as the group’s lead guitarist.

CMM: How best would you describe your music?

Simple, heartfelt, down- to- earth indie rock. We try not to overwork the songs letting the core & heart of the music glow through.

CMM: What is the music scene like in Kansas right now? What the genre of choice out there at the moment?

In all honesty, we’re not exactly sure. There’s a large variety of styles and genres happening in Kansas’s metropolitan areas, but these cities are spread out in great distances across the state, which makes it harder to know what exactly is out there. Since we play out inconsistently there’s some disconnect from the music scenes of the area, but every time another good local band/musician is discovered there’s more connection to the music here and out there. There are college towns like Lawrence and Manhattan, Kansas where it might be easier to view the scene and know what genre choice is there at the moment, but I’d say there’s a large variety of genres and music drifting from city to city through the open skies over Kansas.

CMM: One thing I am hoping to find in this series is some kind of link between where a band is based and their music. Do you feel as an artist you are influenced by your surroundings and the scene around you?

Yes! Very much so. The overall natural and open feeling of the music reflects the simple, open, natural landscape found in Kansas. The songwriting and lyrics also reference experiences, memories, on-going struggles and journeys across and within the physical and social landscape.

CMM: What other influences do you have, musical or otherwise?

As a whole, we’re mostly influenced by folk, blues, country, & alternative rock with heart and soul and good songwriting. The content of our music is also drawn in part from visual art, poetry, history/prehistory, family, nature, and things that are part of everyday life.

CMM: Could you perhaps give a run down of the music you have released so far?

We have one 12 track album that we have released so far. We are currently working on a second album with 6-7 tracks that will be a better indication of what the band sounds like in its current state of evolution.

CMM: Are you able to get out an play live much?. Where are your favourite places to play both in and out of state?

We play out once a month on average. Some of us have children, full time jobs, and all the craziness of just living life. Since some of our music has a quiet tone to it, its usually most enjoyable to play in a space where its appreciated and not just background. One of our favorite venues we’ve played in Kansas was at little independent record store called Sisters of Sound in Manhattan, Kansas. They invited us to play in store on Record Store Day! It was a small space and we barely had room for our equipment but it was so intimate and a really genuine experience. We’ve also enjoyed playing in several art galleries and alternative spaces as well as the Record Bar in Kansas City, Missouri. Record Bar is probably the most quality stage we’ve played on to date.

CMM: What's next in the pipeline for the band?

We are in the process of recording a second album again in Ben’s attic. He acquired some new equipment since the first album, and its allowed for many more possibilities. “Its been game-changing” in his words. After we complete the album, we plan to sell it online and in physical form and use the new material to book shows in the area and region.

CMM: And finally, where can people reach out to you online and where can they get hold of your stuff?

We keep a pretty steady update of what we’re up to, upcoming shows, photos, and more on Facebook. We also have a bandcamp site at where you can purchase and download our previous album. We have physical copies as well that can be ordered online . The packaging is custom screen printed by the band with Marable’s artwork.

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