Vocalize a Doo-Wop, Take a Bite of that Chicken & Get Familiar w/ Soul Track Mind (interview)

Interview by: Mamba

Header Photo by: Kwestro

Austin, TX band Soul Track Mind is cooking up quite a buzz in the streets these days. If you haven’t heard of Soul Track mind, they are a nostalgic 60’s & 70’s Soul Band that are keeping the original soul roots alive. What blows my mind is that this band that has only been together for 2 years, but they play like they’ve been together for five years. Catching them live is beyond entertaining, it’s a damn experience. Lead Man Donovan Keith takes control of the crowd and keeps the ladies weak at the knees as he serenades them with his sharp and seductive vocals. I remember attending one of their album release parties, and Donovan had 30 ladies fanning him off at one point. Wow.. Adding to that, you have the band who is always rocking behind him with dance routines for days!  If you hadn’t had a chance to purchase the long awaited album – “Ghost of Soul”, you can find it on iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Waterloo Records or directly from the band at soultrackmind.bigcartel.com. Soul Track Mind is determined to push their sound into the limelight, and this interview seals the deal…
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B.C. – How’s life been treatin’ Soul Track Mind?

S.T.M. – Rollin’ with the punches baby. Due to Austin’s diverse music culture, any new band has to fight for respect.  Even now after a few years of playing out and building our base, there’s still a lot of souls to convert.  We have more opportunities than ever to play now and our album is out.  So life is good.

B.C. – What year did Soul Track Mind unite, and what made you guys want to start the band?

S.T.M. – I moved to Austin from the Midwest in January of 2008 specifically to be a Soul singer and build a Soul band around that concept.  I met Jonathon, the guitarist in March of that year and we met most of the musicians on Craigslist.  We were up and gigging in June of 08.  The guys that make up our current lineup came along the way, because we had a lot of overturn in our first year and a half.

B.C. – Your debut album – “Ghost of Soul” is out! How have the album release parties been, and how are fans responding to the album?

Don’t Gimme That Look

[audio:http://www.boycottmag.com/media/Soul_Track_Mind_Don’t_Gimme_That_Look.mp3]

Ghost of Soul

[audio:http://www.boycottmag.com/media/Soul_Track_Mind_Ghost_Of_Soul.mp3]

S.T.M. – The parties were amazing!!  The Austin release at the ND was the best.  300+ people, sell out crowd basically.  It was the only time to date we’ve come on stage and had the audience screaming so loud that it hurt my ears.  It was intense.  We did San Antonio the next night at Luna.  It’s a little more relaxed of an atmosphere.  A much smaller club, but the audience slowly grows each time we play there.  They treat us very well.

The album is long overdue and our fans have been wanting more than our 3 track EP for a long time now.  So they all love it.  The only knock against it seems to be that it doesn’t totally capture our live act.  But we don’t believe it should.  We wanted the album to offer a little something different and with our Studio engineer Matt Smith, and Stewart Sullivan working his magic on mixing the album, I believe we accomplished that.  The live act should be an untouchable enigma of it’s own.

B.C. – What is the theme behind the album?

S.T.M. – We titled the album ‘Ghost of Soul’ out of reference to what one of the locals called me at TC’s Lounge, where we used to play every Wednesday night.  I think he was related to T.C.  Not sure.  But I came off stage during the break and he came up to me and said, “You a bad man.  You’re like a Soul Ghost”.  He referenced how as a singer I emulate bits and pieces of all the old Soul singers from that Golden Era and the band was an eerie reminder of his old memories.  I liked the visual it gave me and I wrote the song based on that theme.  Our album takes a variety of those Soul influences and blends them together with each song having a different sound.  We use the analogy of a big blot of paint on a canvas.  In the middle where the blot is…that is our Soul root.  The rest of the canvas is different types of music.  With a big brush we take swipes at it and the Soul color blends into the other genres, but the root color is always the same.

B.C. – When I had my first taste of Soul Track Mind. The description of you guys that came to my mind was – “Motown influenced group with the horn section of A.W.B. (average white band)”. How does it feel, to know that you’re keeping original soul music alive and kickin’?

S.T.M. – It’s been a lot of fun. At the same time it can be difficult to deal with.  The difficulty is trying to separate ourselves with an independent and unique sound while staying true to those Soul roots.  There are very subtle differences in what made artists unique even back in those days.  I think we’re close to achieving that, but it’ll take a little more time to develop.  The best part has been in discovering the universal appeal our band has.  We’ve seen first hand that age, gender, or ethnicity hasn’t made a difference in who comes to our shows.  We’ve tried to nail down what our target audience would be, and it turns out to be literally everyone whether they know anything about Soul music or not.  That’s the same quality that crossover artists like Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Righteous Brothers and Elvis had.  We just wait for the opportunity to catch on in the same way.

We use the analogy of a big blot of paint on a canvas.  In the middle where the blot is…that is our Soul root.  The rest of the canvas is different types of music.  With a big brush we take swipes at it ,and the Soul color blends into the other genres, but the root color is always the same.