Over the last two years, Covington, Kentucky and the surrounding region have witnessed the development of the dynamic septet Common Center up close. The psych rock’s band’s evolution has taken time, both in line-up and live show, but they’re now at the point where they’re ready to cement their sound with a studio recording. Join their new PledgeMusic campaign for ‘Gypsy River’ and read on for more details of how they continue to grow.
That intro video is hilarious. Was that as fun to make as it is to watch?
Yes! …and no. It was a very sudden idea that all happened in less than 24 hours. Our very good friend and supporter Nate owns the place that we filmed in -- Wunderbar in Covington, KY. They were closed on Monday, and we thought of the idea Sunday night. The entire day was filled with writing a story board and getting things together, and that night we all brought our ideas and wung it, and what you see is the result! The process was definitely aggravating at times, but there was beer, so the tensions never got too high. As you can tell, we’re far from professional actors, but that’s what makes it good, and honestly we could only take it so seriously. When you have grown men in dresses and platinum wigs running around, there is only so much of a threshold for seriousness.
You guys already have a live release from last year and some great tour experiences. Is it safe to assume that’s your favorite aspect of being in a band is the live show?
Definitely. We write our music with the performance in mind, and the stage is where we evolve. As musicians, we become tighter, more comfortable, and learn things we could never teach ourselves at practice. As performers, we love connecting with our audience, and we are definitely an example of group that gives back the energies that we receive, and our fans are well aware of that. We are always working on a better crafted performance, so sometimes we will see video of a show from six months ago and will barely recognize it, so people can trust that we will keep it fresh. More recently we have been bringing guests up on stage to sit in with us, and that is taking us into yet another realm of what we can do live.
We’d love to hear a bit about how all of you came together in the first place?
As surprising as it might be, seven people didn’t pop out of the ground and form a band all at once. Our songwriter Liam moved to the area and began playing music with our drummer, Austin. This was a pretty powerful two-piece, and eventually they met Sasha (saxophone), then that trio became a quartet with Lewis (keyboards) and that combo toyed around a bit until we met Jess (violin) and finally Dennis (bass) and Ian (hand drums/vocals) came along! It took about two years for all of us to find each other, and ever since then we have a happy septet. With each line-up reincarnation, people told us that we were good the way we were and that we did not need more. We just said, ‘Trust us.’
Where does the name “Common Center” come from?
The universe, man! No really, there is a book called ‘The Universe.’ A random page flip and where Austin’s finger landed determined it all. Since then, it has taken on true meaning with who we are and who our community is that all make Common Center, even if they aren’t on stage with us.
Do you guys have details yet on the album. Title? Number of tracks? Release date?
The title is ‘Gypsy River,’ which comes from the song “Gypsy River Wade,” but also sort of speaks as a metaphor for the flow of our music: it can be a gentle stream heading straight into rapids that take you to a waterfall, but eventually you will be in the calm again. As for the gypsy part, we use a lot of gypsy-type scales and we all have gypsy souls, so we like it. It is a 12-track album with a hidden track at the end. The hidden track is a song that we played live for a couple months but has not surfaced in well over a year, so we hope to get a good response to its recording and its reappearance at our release show on November 21st.
We are still in the planning stages for the party, but it is going to be as locally focused as possible with local food, brew, supporting bands, and more. As far as other album-related business goes, we have some really cool designs for a ton of new merch, and we are booking a good deal of out of town shows in areas that we have and haven’t played. Thank you so much for your time!