In a nondescript, bumper-sticker laden touring van, the three members of Brooklyn based band Beat the Devil crisscross the Northeast—no thanks to skyrocketing gas prices—to make their explosive live gigs.
Made up of petite crooner (and immense vocal shredder)/harmonium player Shilpa Ray, bassist Mishka Shubaly and drummer Mitchell King—or The Cat In The Hat, Thing One and Thing Two, respectively, as they joke on their MySpace page—Beat The Devil has been gaining critical clout and speed for the past two years with the unique snarling, driving rock they unleash at their volatile shows. With a debut album (which follows their self-titled live-recorded EP) in the final mixing stages and tour dates that keep them on the move, Ray's tiny frame belts out an impressive, core-rattling roar that packs awed audiences in.
Though their unique sound may be hard for the local music journalists to do justice, its New Jersey, Georgia and Colorado-raised members have no problem lavishing praise on the city they now call home. Having roomed everywhere from Washington Heights to Astoria to Kensington, Brooklyn, the trio admits that New York has entrenched itself in their music. "Since I was three years old, the city has shaped me," says Ray. "I would dream about coming to the city where something wonderful and big was going to happen. But when you really live here, it's also a huge kick in the ass. You're like, 'Oh, I've gotta work in a basement full of rats—whoops.' I still love it though." Concurs Shubaly, who moved here with $200 to his name ten years ago, "It's kind of like getting hooked on drugs or a bad relationship, you know—it spoils you for anything else. You get it in your blood," he says. "Regardless of how long we're gone—two days or two months—I'm like, 'oh man, I can't fucking wait to get back to New York.'"
And while they can't quite quit their day jobs—at a construction company, an online eyeglass company and real estate firm—just yet, that rapidly multiplying fan base (Ray was even named the city's best front person by Time Out New York, while Shubaly just completed 100,000 miles of solo touring) wishes that they would. Of course, for now, that fuel-guzzling van isn't helping things: "We'll be out on the road, losing our shirts due to gas prices," says Shubaly. Whatever the cost, there's no doubt that as Beat the Devil racks up mileage on the odometer, their profile is also happily on the rise.
Read an exclusive interview with Beat The Devil on the official ontheinside.info blog here.
Listen to Beat The Devil mp3's here.
It's kind of the torch bearer of what the Knitting Factory used to be in the '80s and what Tonic was in the '90s—a place for musicians that don't necessarily play financially viable music to have a place to express themselves and for people to come see it. …more
The echoes here are crazy, so if you talk you can hear yourself talking like three or four fold. It's so awesome. We would drop quarters to hear what sounds they would make, and we could just go there and have a ball—just screaming, singing, or playing an acoustic guitar. …more
I've eaten everything off the menu here, and it's all my favorite dish. …more
You can buy a fairly cheap shehnai or cheap conch shells or percussion instruments, which aren't in the best condition, but if you're beginning and you just want to hear the sounds, it's a really good spot to go. …more
You can get lost in just in the little roads that wind around the huge tombs, some of them new, some of them old and decrepit. …more
You'll see people with crazy instruments and sound-sampling gear, doing whatever they want. There's a big song-writing energy here. …more
We use a lot of weirder, beat up, vintage equipment, which is continually breaking, so whenever I have anything electrical, I bring it to John to fix. …more