The Whitney Myer Band

It isn’t a surprise when we hear a feature tell us their parents were a major influence on them musically. Typically this goes without saying – I mean, I have a better appreciation for Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel than any of friends mostly because my mom was constantly playing Genesis. I mean, CONSTANTLY. In the car. In the living room. At school. During baseball practice. While asleep. It didn’t matter. Anyway, the point here is that our families play a huge role in what we get into musically. And I can’t find a better case of this than Reno’s own Whitney Myer Band. You see, Myer is joined by her guitarist father Scott and drummer uncle Fred in her quartet (filled out by bassist Gia Torcaso), two guys that have been in the business for a while. Whitney grew up going to shows with her family members – Scott and Fred making careers as musicians, playing as part of the Mudsharks that toured the entire US. Whitney was at these shows. She’s known the scene since she was 3 years old. And now, she’s playing alongside some of her greatest influences. Not a bad story.

The group is out supporting their second release, a record called “Dream Killer”. Whitney gets into it: “Fans should expect an eclectic view of who we are as a band. It showcases all of our various influences and shows ingenuity in song arrangements. It's not your run of the mill auto tune junk. Everyone can identify with the songs on the album, because everyone has felt loss of love in some way, or been swayed by desire…We dubbed our sound as ‘FunkSoulPop’ sometime last year. It is a fun phrase to say and we feel it best encompasses our style.” We love new words. Check out “Dream Killer” and keep an eye out for a love show from the band. There’s whole lot more to get into, so keep reading for all the answers to the XXQ’s.

XXQs: The Whitney Myer Band (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?
WM: We dubbed our sound as "FunkSoulPop" sometime last year. It is a fun phrase to say and we feel it best encompasses our style. We are a female-fronted funky, rockin' band, which sort of sets us apart from other female fronted acts. You see quite a lot of female led country, pop, singer-songwriter, and R&B but there aren't too many funkin' rockin' bands with a chic singer. We fill that void. I like to think that we rock out with soul.
PEV: Calling Reno, Nevada home, what kind of music where you into growing up? Do you remember your first concert?
WM:I was into all sorts of music when I was a kid. I liked a lot of the usual music of the 90's... TLC, Sublime, Brandy, Aqua... yes Aqua. I actually made up a dance with my little sister to their ridiculous hit "Barbie Girl". My dad and uncle (the guitar player and drummer) were in a ska band called the Mudsharks from the time I was about 6-11 years old so I was really into skal. I used to know every word and vocal trill off No Doubt's "Tragic Kingdom" album. My dad's band was pretty well known and they would tour all over the U.S. They even got to play gig with Sublime before Bradley died. My first concert was probably one of my dad's shows. I remember skanin' in the mosh pits at a Mudsharks concert at Wingfield Park in Reno at age 7. I felt pretty cool hanging out with the big kids at concerts and such.

PEV: Tell us your take on the music scene in your hometown and what was it like trying to break into it?

WM:There is a really strong music scene here. Tons of talent concentrated in our "biggest little city". I think Reno is on the verge of being a really cool, creative place, and could be known as such. But I also feel that Reno has gone through revolutions or cycles of this same thing over time and instead of becoming a hub for creativity like Portland or Seattle, there is a mass exodus of talented people of the area and it just dies down. I hope it doesn't happen the same way this time around. Maybe it's that way with other cities of a similar size and demographic... who knows. It's been fairly easy for us to build a strong following here. There is a large portion of the residents to support local music, and without them we'd still be playing private shows for family and friends.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live The Whitney Myer Band show?

WM:Ooh here's the good stuff! This is where we really shine..We pride ourselves in winning the audience over at every show. We've got great songs and we really enjoy sharing them with people. I've got a ton of energy and love rockin' out while singing and generally end up surprising people with my buoyant voice and coinciding moves. Yes, I've got some sweet moves, but you gotta catch a show to see 'em.

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?
WM:God I love my job.

PEV: Having all been in other bands before how is playing with The Whitney Myer Band different then those other works?

WM: For starters, three out of four members are family, so that makes for an interesting chemistry between players. The three of us tend to get into it sometimes, because we drop all social niceties when speaking to each one another. It's not like we'll never see each other again if the band breaks up so we tend to cut to the chase when giving criticism. When we're writing a song and we start getting impatient things can get a little hairy. At the end of the day we all feel really lucky to have this bond. Especially my dad and I. We would not be nearly as close without the band and I get to see another side of him that I didn't really get to experience growing up.

PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?
WM: A lot of our songs are about love, but a couple are politically based. We don't really all see eye to eye in politics but in this song we wrote called "Revolution" we all could agree that our country is in need of radical change. Sometimes we write songs with music first, or I'll have half a page of lyrics written and then my dad will start playing something on the guitar and I'll start putting the lyrics into song. The best song ideas come from personal experience, for sure. Weather it be the joy or pain of loving someone that brings it on.

PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out do you ever look back at your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve arrived where you are today?

WM: Sometimes, but I'm pretty focused on moving forward. I think we've done some pretty awesome things but we're ambitious and I can't wait to see what the future holds. I started out playing open mics with my dad, singing original songs about how my prom sucked and such. I met quite a few people who are in the Reno Music scene with us now at those open mics, which is kinda interesting and pretty sweet all at the same time.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Whitney Myer?

WM: I speak Spanish fluently, and although I am at heart a city girl, I've got my sights set on owning a chicken and a goat. I despise most things associated with country music (no offense) but I think fresh eggs, cheese and milk would be pretty useful. Plus those little pygmy goats are darn cute!

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a goal for you?

WM: To tell you the truth I was always singing...and I'm not sure when I decided. I've wanted it for as long as I can remember. Maybe in middle school I took it more seriously but I remember listening to the radio and singing along and thinking that I wanted to be a part of that.

PEV: Tell us about your second CD, "Dream Killer". What can fans expect from this?
WM: Fans should expect an eclectic view of who we are as a band. It showcases all of our various influences and shows ingenuity in song arrangements. It's not your run of the mill auto tune junk. Everyone can identify with the songs on the album, because everyone has felt loss of love in some way, or been swayed by desire. It's part of life and it's what the album is really about.

PEV: How is life on the road for you in the music world? Best and worst parts?

WM: It is the FAVORITE part of my life. For me, there's no place I'd rather be! It's like a vacation but we get to play for new people every night and meet great new people every night. When we're touring, I get to see a different side of my dad and uncle. They tend to let go a little bit and we just kick it together. It's really nice. Also, me and Gia (the bassist) always end up riding together and we always have a fun silly time with that. The last few times we ended up practicing our rapping skills, writing a poem and a new song that we actually play now at every show. It's a great time for us to showcase who we are as a band. The worst part is that it's pretty exhausting with all the driving, unloading and loading of equipment, putting on the show, selling cds, circulating email lists, updating social network sites, socializing, and driving to the next show. It's totally worth it though.

PEV: Is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?

WM: Yes yes. England and Europe in general. I think out music would go over well there, but especially England. They're into the Neo-soul hybrid sounds.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play at your hometown?

WM: They've all been really supportive of the whole thing. We have really great turnouts for our hometown gigs and it's a great feeling because the people that come love our music and often sing along with us. That's always a cool feeling because we feel like people can really relate to the music we make. Plus we get the best turnouts in our hometown, which always makes for a great evening.

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

WM: Booking shows, enjoying live music, running, hanging out with family and friends. I also really like traveling and I've been to Spain, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Egypt. I'd really like to go to Latin America next.

PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration? Why?

WM: James Bown- Because he is amazing! He is one of my musical influences and was such a powerful presence on stage. Janelle Monae- Because she is an amazing talent.

PEV:  Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

WM: Yes, Amber Rubarth. She lives in Brooklyn but is actually from Reno. She is an awesome songwriter. She recently wrote a song with the lead singer from Kings of Leon.

PEV: If you weren’t playing music now what do you think each of you would be your career?

WM: I would be doing translation or peace core work abroad, my dad and uncle have put holds on their real estate careers, and Gia is a special ed. teacher.

PEV: So, what is next for The Whitney Myer Band?

Great know, the Grammies and such. We've got a national college radio deal at the moment and we're also in the beginning stages of becoming part of a national tour with a well known act.

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