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Belle & The Strange bring their vibes to Middle Waves 2017
By EA Poorman
Fort Wayne Reader
We're only a couple months away from Middle Waves 2017 and we now know who's hitting the stage on that weekend in September. In honor of the second year of Fort Wayne's very own music festival we're highlighting some of the local talent that will be playing for us this year. There's a lot of talent in the Fort and a lot of talent hitting those outdoor stages this year, so let's get to know some of these local guys and gals.
First up is Belle & The Strange. You know 'em? Well, imagine if you will The Dead Weather, The Black Keys, Amy Winehouse, and 1920s German cabaret and you might get an idea of the voodoo they're summoning. They're at times dark, folksy, sultry, and their sound feels organic. From the earth, if you will. Fuzzed-out guitars intermingle with spirited incantations. The band consists of Lyndsy Porter(vocals), Ben Porter(guitar), Hope Elizabeth(violin), Tyler Berggren(bass), and Colin Boyd(drummer).
I spoke to Lyndsy about the band and their thoughts on Middle Waves.
EA Poorman: So tell me about how Belle & The Strange got together? What sort of local music history is there with the members?
Lyndsy Porter: Lyndsy (lead vocalist) actually met her husband Ben (guitarist) when he booked her band (The End Times Spasm Band) for the West Central Art Festival. Ben played guitar with Sunny Taylor Band and still plays with Lee Miles and also with Darren Hunt (The Interlopers). Ben and I met Hope Elizabeth our violinist when she was playing in Old and Dirty. Tyler Berggren had never played locally since he had just moved to Fort Wayne to work at Sweetwater. Man, is he a great addition to Belle. Colin Boyd, our phenomenal drummer has been involved in so many wonderful projects but we really got to see him shine and became interested in working with him when we saw him playing with David Mikautadze, Hope Arthur and Mikautadze Dance Co.
EA Poorman: Who or what are some influences the band is pulling from? There seems to be a dark, folksy vibe to tracks like last year's "Howl" and the new one "Vulture".
Lyndsy Porter: Shovel and Ropes. The Dead Weather. Cab Calloway. Black Keys. Amy Winehouse. Yeah yeah yeahs. We all come from very different musical backgrounds, so the pool of influences are a mosaic for sure. Ben brings the folksy and I am always begging to make it smokier, sexier, and darker.
EA Poorman: Speaking of the songs, where did you record? The production sounds amazing on these.
Lyndsy Porter: Our bass player Tyler engineered the recording, and was assisted by our guitarist Ben Porter and recorded in our home studio. They've got sharp ears and the attention to detail is haunting. We created our first recording of our songs Howl and Vulture for a vinyl single on Ty Brinneman's Crucial Artifacts Records.
EA Poorman: What's the songwriting process like in Belle & The Strange? Do you write together as a band, or is someone bringing a song into the fold and you all go from there?
Lyndsy Porter: Ben and I, husband and wife, write the songs ourselves. It's the reason we got together in the first place. We were just going to be "friends" and write songs together. Well, we are married with kids now. I have days where I get flooded with songs. Even dream them at times. Lyrics and melodies come out of nowhere and I scramble to get them on paper before they set sail again. We both sit down and chart out the emotion and feel for the song, at which point I then hand it off to Ben who brings it to life. Ben takes off and writes the chords and music, and some parts for the band. He then translates the vision to the band and the band throws their twist on things, creating the final sound and feel for each song. We listen and respect each other's input and critiques. Just like good food, if you have good ingredients you have a good meal. Same with music if you have good musicians, you've got good music.
EA Poorman: Is there a full-length album in the works?
Lyndsy Porter: Oh yeah....this coming Fall we're back to the studio.
EA Poorman: A couple weeks ago the line up for the 2017 Middle Waves Festival was announced and Belle & The Strange are in that line up. I'm sure you're all ecstatic. So how did this come about?
Lyndsy Porter: Funny you ask. We were asked by Matt Kelly and Corey Radar on separate occasions if we were free Sept 15th and 16th. Not thinking I told them we were absolutely unavailable all weekends in September especially Sept. 15th and 16th because I had planned to go to a music festival. Finally Matt asked "So, What music festival are you going to?" and he couldn't help but laugh when I said, "Middle Waves, duh." He then proceeded to ask if it would be any trouble to hop on stage while I was there.
EA Poorman: Are you excited about having such a large audience to play for?
Lyndsy Porter: Hard to say, we have to meet the audience first. As a lead singer I feed off the audience's energy. I'm excited to try to razz that many people at once. I often try to go out in the crowd during the set to connect and lighten the mood. Makes me feel like less of a zoo animal.
EA Poorman: So who are some artists you're all excited about sharing the stage with?
Lyndsy Porter: Flamingo Nose Bleed and MGMT are favorites. We're excited to fall in love with all the artists that we don't know yet.
EA Poorman: Besides winning over droves of folks at Middle Waves, what does Belle & The Strange have planned for the rest of the summer?
Lyndsy Porter: We plan to play a few more local shows before Middle Waves but our focus is to prepare for recording a full length this fall so we're keeping the load light. We are more that excited to create our first full-length album.
Got your tickets yet? No? Then what are you waiting for? September 15th and 16th is the weekend to remember for Middle Waves. Get out there and see Belle & The Strange and keep up with them