Article By: Ericka Santos
Photographs By: Kumasi Lewis
It was an hour before the doors opened at the Roxy in Los Angeles, and just outside the venue walls, a swarm of eager music fans were ready and pumped to witness the night’s sold-out show. Fans from all across the state, from San Diego to Sacramento, had come out to support the concert’s headliner K-OS but were instantly won over by the show opening performances of U-N-I and Audible Mainframe.
Yoo-N-LA was invited to check out exactly what the six-piece live, hip-hop band known as Audible Mainframe was all about. We watched, we listened, and we witnessed the group give a blazing performance from start to finish.
Impossible to ignore, the group’s vocalist/emcee Exposition (a.k.a “Expo”) delivered his lyrics with a flawless flow. While engaging the crowd, working the stage, and playing off the vibe of his five band mates, Expo had heads swaying and hands waving. With a sound that combines guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, trumpets, and a DJ mixing on the turntables, Audible Mainframe is a powerhouse using the flavor of hip-hop to deliver their message.
At night’s end the audience, who knew little to nothing about Audible Mainframe, was ravaged by their talent and beyond hyped to hear more from the East Coast born band.
BEHIND THE BAND
Six men and one focus to make good music- the quintessential dream Audible Mainframe is chasing and conquering.
Since their conception in Boston, MA in 2003 to their arrival in Los Angeles in 2006, their success continues to reach new heights. Wrangling up awards such as “Best Live Act”, “Best Underground Emcee”, winning 98.7 FM and Long Beach’s The District Weekly’s 2008 “Battle of the Bands”, and recently winning the title of AirWalk’s 2009 Unsigned Hero’s Contest, AMF definitely has the music industry taking notice.
Each member of the band engraves his style into the group’s collective sound. With Exposition (a.k.a. Expo) on the mic, Walt on bass guitar, Lethal D on guitar, Miller on keys and trumpet, Johnny on drums, and Special Blend on the turntables, the end result is explosive.
“It just all comes together in the music,” said Blend. “It’s like a big melting pot, and everybody can exist as their own individual yet come together and make something brand new.”
Meeting through mutual friends, Craig’s List ads, and college wall postings, these six musicians share a history as eclectic and inspiring as their music. With each an artist in his own right the road to their collaborations seemed effortless.
“I was doing some solo music, and my solo music was kind of taking off in Boston,” said Expo. “Then we decided to basically form a band to play that music. Then it just kind of became its own thing; it became Audible Mainframe.”
Once the group began searching for another member to add to their arsenal, the demand was answered by their keys and trumpet player Miller.
“[AMF] put up an ad like ‘Yo, looking for keyboard player,’” said Miller. “I’ll always remember because it was like, ‘Do you like hip-hop?’ And I was like, ‘Yea I do.’ ‘Do you play keyboard?’ And I was like, ‘Yea I do.’ ‘Do you want to play live shows now?’ And I was like, ‘Yea, I do!’” Miller laughed. And that was that.
Sharing a similar introduction to the group, Walt found himself as a new face in the AMF family in a matter of weeks after responding to a Craig’s List posting his manager forwarded to him. “They hit me back for an audition, and after the audition they cancelled all the other ones. I was the guy,” Walt smiled.
Within the blueprint of AMF are more than just infectious beats and a band of compatible personalities. There are stories audiences can connect with, motivations that other artists can relate to, and passions that run deep for the messages that can be projected through the power of music.
“I never took a drum lesson,” said Johnny “I just got a drum kit, and I just pretty much put on a set of head phones and listened to everything from Fugazi to Green Day, to Pearl Jam, to Nirvana, and that whole 90’s grunge phase. I just played along with those records, and I kind of taught myself how to play. Then from there I just started getting into all kinds of different types of music, and here I am.”
And here they all are.
Each in their own way pursuing their dreams, playing to the crowds and hyping up the music scene one performance at a time, there’s no end in sight for AMF. Having celebrated the release of their third studio album Transient in summer of 2009, fresh off playing the SPIN Magazine showcase at SxSW in 2010, and already clocking in stage time with artists like Slick Rick, Damien Marley and K-OS, Audible Mainframe is a group you can’t afford to miss next time they’re in your area.
Bottom line… when it comes to the essence of AMF, don’t be afraid to follow your dreams and never settle reaching for anything less than the stars.
“The most challenging thing [was] coming out here and starting from the beginning, starting all over again,” said Lethal D. “We had to make new friends [and] make new fans so this was tough; it took us three years. We came out here…didn’t know anybody, didn’t know the lay of the land, didn’t know where we were, but here we are. Now we’re playing at the Roxy,” he smiles. “Hell yea!”
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