The Heavy Pets are an American Rock band that incorporates elements of funk, jazz, blues, and even some disco vibes to create a unique sound that’s galvanizing stages nationwide. I had a chance to sit down and chat with their drummer Jamie Newitt at Aura Music Festival. Here’s what he had to say about their music, plans for the future and more.
How did you guys link up?
Jamie: Through college. Jim, the keyboard player, and our guitar players Jeff went to Syracuse University. Our other guitar player Mike went to school nearby in Albany. They had a band similar to The Heavy Pets in college.
You came to Grooveshark HQ and we recorded a music video in our office. You chose to play “Keep Me Running” off your newly released Two Horses EP. What made you decide to play that song?
Well, I think we decided on “Keep Me Running” because immediately, as soon as we put out that recording, it got a lot of play. People are really excited about it. Sirius Radio’s Jam On has been playing it a lot too; they took a big liking to it and a lot of other people from that as well. The recording came out extremely well and we’re super happy with it. It’s kind of been a fan favorite for now.
I remember there being a debate about if Jim should take a solo [on “Keep Me Running”] or if Mike should take a solo. How does that work and how do you guys change it up from show to show?
It’s funny because on the record Jim takes a very cool synth solo. It’s short and sweet and it’s pretty memorable. It’s nothing crazy flashy but it’s really interesting and fun. Jim decided to take that for the recording but Mike traditionally had been playing that tune live for a long time before we actually were through with it. Although Mike was always taking that solo he feels that Jim should take it now because it’s gotten popular and people know it with that synth solo in it. I think Mike takes it [in the Grooveshark video].
For the performance, we stuffed you in our rec. room, decked it out and had our office come in and sit on the floor. I feel like that may be be a little bit out of your comfort zone. What was it like for you?
Yeah. Honestly, I love the intimate setting. Obviously playing in front of a thousand or more people is amazing but it’s a different kind of vibe. It’s a bigger production and bigger show but I prefer intimate settings more so I dig something like that a little more.
I know you do your own behind the scenes video diaries, but was this intimate recording session a first for you?
We’ve done a couple other things like this. We’ve got this series called The Everywhere Sessions where we do different sessions in smaller settings, like in-studio stuff and sometimes we do like a radio live performance or various things and places that people have set up in random towns. Those are usually not in front of a crowd; you guys had a nice fun crew set up. I feel like what you guys are doing with it is awesome. It’s a great way to pull people in, show them what you’re doing and create cool content so they can check out bands that they dig.
Let’s talk about the direction you’re taking with the Two Horses EP and the new EP you have coming out.
For Two Horses we started recording at a new studio in Pompano Beach called The Power Station, which is an incredible recording studio. Initially it was just a test, we were going to try out a couple different studios and do a few songs here and a few songs there. So we got to The Power Station and recorded two songs there and it went amazingly well so we decided we didn’t even need to try out these other studios that we were talking about. The vibe on there is one song that Jim wrote and one song that Mike wrote, “Last Babies,” which is also kind of a newer crowd favorite that’s got an indie rock thing going on. “Keep Me Running” has got more of the R&B feel.
Is indie rock a new thing you’re touching up on?
Yeah. We’ve always really liked it.
It’s trending even outside of the jam community.
Definitely. I think we all kind of dig some stuff on the post-rock side so we’re influenced by that and it started to finally work its way into our sound a little bit. In the new EP, we’re going to release three songs from The Power Station. It’s going to be called Rags & Aces. We’re done with all the tracks, we just have to put them out.
What kind of vibe is the new EP as far as style?
We’ve kind of honed in our sound now at The Power Station.
So when you work with a specific studio, do you have a specific sound to stick to?
For right now I think we dig the sound we’re getting and we’re trying to have a bunch of cohesive tunes. Maybe it will become an album and we’ll remix some stuff, a full-length album possibly or just a bunch of EPs. But we’re just trying to craft a cohesive sound and this place is allowing us to do that. We just recorded another dance tune by Jim called “Hedi Sigismondi,” a straight rock tune called “Chew” that Jeff wrote and another song called “Movie Star” that Mike wrote.
When can we expect this album?
The official release is May 6, which we’ll celebrate with an online performance for the Live From AURA Studios sessions, but we’ll be releasing each tune digitally as a single between now and then so keep an eye out (on Grooveshark).
Are you guys going to release the next EP on vinyl as well?
Yeah, that’s going to be the new trend.
Listen to The Heavy Pets on Grooveshark and be sure to catch them live at a city near you:
- 4/04: Gainesville, FL for barn Burner Pre-Party @ The Jam w/ Holey Miss Moley, Legacy
- 4/05: Boca Raton, FL for Biscuit Fest @ Funky Biscuit w/ George Porter Jr., Lingo
- 4/09: Live Oak, FL for Wanee Happy Hour @ Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
- 4/10: Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution w/ Umphrey’s McGee
- 4/15: Charlotte, NC @ Roux! NoDa w/ Daryl Hance
- 4/17: Buffalo, NY @ Tralf Music Hall w/ Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad
- 4/18: Syracuse, NY @ Westcott Theater w/ Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad
- 4/19: Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts w/ American Babies, SensaMotion Band
- 4/22: Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair w/ The Revivalists
- 4/23: Albany, NY @ The Hollow
- 4/24: New York, NY @ Brooklyn Bowl w/ McLovins
- 4/25: Newton, NJ for Gathering 2 @ Great Divide Campground
- 4/26: Baltimore, MD @ Soundstage w/ The Werks
- 4/29: Raleigh, NC @ Pour House Music Hall w/ The Werks
- 4/30: Greensboro, NC @ The Blind Tiger w/ Jimkata, Imperial Blend
- 5/01: Greenville, SC @ Gottrocks
- 5/02: Athens, GA @ Georgia Theatre *String Cheese Incident After Party
- 5/03: Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West w/ The Werks
- 5/06: LIVE from AURA Studio Video Stream
- 5/09: Live Oak, FL for Purple Hatters Ball @ Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
- 5/15: Roanoke, VA @ Martin’s
- 5/16: Richmond, VA @ Canal Club w/ The Throngone Band, Hubble Bash
- 5/17: Vienna, VA @ Jammin Java w/ Threesound
- 5/18: Wilmington, DE @ World Cafe Live at The Queen w/ Spontaneous Underground
- 5/21: Wilmington, NC @ The Whiskey
- 5/22: Charleston, SC @ Pour House w/ Big Something
- 5/23: Jacksonville, FL @ 1904 Music Hall w/ Big Something
- 5/24: Tampa, FL @ Skipper’s Smokehouse w/ Big Something
- 5/25: Boynton Beach, FL for Hope From Harrison Benefit @ The Backyard
- 6/21: Glouster, OH for Family Roots Festival @ Smoke Rise Ranch
- 7/11: Durham, ON for Illumination Musc & Arts Festival
- 7/12: Barto, PA for Luna Light Music & Arts Festival @ Hex Hollow Farms
- 8/21: Bartow, WV for Camp Barefoot
- 9/12-13: Rock Camp, WV for Pink Moon Festival @ Pinky’s Farm
-By Jason Rubel