By Lisa Morgan
When longtime desert musician, Mark Gregg, shared a YouTube video of his son playing guitar and singing into the camera, I was immediately impacted. The song was “Firewater” and the voice, the mechanics of his guitar playing and the seasoned depth of his lyrics were far beyond his years. I would meet the young singer/songwriter months later at a CV Weekly event where he performed live. Clearly his stage presence and passion were channeled from a far older, experienced master of the art. Fast forward a couple of years, and he is performing with a full band and recording his second compilation with none other than multi-Platinum, Diamond certified, Oscar and Grammy nominated producer, composer and musician, Ronnie King.
Band brother and stickman, Sean Poe, has literally had Gregg’s back for the better part of three years now and has grown in skill, finesse and presence right along with Gregg. New to the band, and bringing a surprisingly cohesive and creative element, is bass player Matt Styler. The self-taught local player, with his varied array of influences such as Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Roger Waters (Pink Floyd), and Les Claypool (Primus), was never expected to make the cut. “I didn’t even realize I was being set up for failure,” Styler shared laughing. “Sean asked if I wanted to come over and learn a full hour of original material, and I said, ‘Original music? Great!’ Neither Gregg nor Poe expected him to be such a great fit on so many levels. “This has become a lot more of a collective in the songwriting process,” shared Gregg. “It’s not so much a singer/songwriter album as it is a band album – all of us contributing to the songs and our sound.”
With one solid record under their belt, Hive Minds came under the management of Morgan James Entertainment who introduced them to famed producer, Ronnie King. Gregg, Poe and Styler along with King, took a break from recording to meet with me and talk about the five song EP they are producing. “This project is going to be full of more soul,” said Gregg confidently. “This evolution of Hive Minds has a taste of R&B, roots blues and indie rock, but still maintains that classic pop feel. I guess you could say it has the essence of everything from post-new wave to Pixies meets Vampire Weekend. I think it puts the soul back into the term ‘radio friendly’. This album is an inferno. Ronnie is driving us, and with the limit on the time we have to create together, the music that is being captured reflects an incredibly high energy.”
King, who has collaborated with multi-million dollar selling artists such as Mariah Carey, Tyrese, Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, The Offspring and Rancid, chimed in saying, “The boys have been a real pleasure to work with. They’ve been real gentlemen, trusting me and letting me produce their music. I love their new music. It’s phenomenal. We have some serious radio songs that are going to be fantastic on college radio, and we really look forward to getting them out there.”
Along with their mobile performance on the Sunline bus, Hive Minds will hit the festival’s Main Stage at the Cathedral City Festival Lawn across from the Mary Pickford Theater at 3:30 p.m. The rest of their upcoming schedule is as follows:
11/7 Jackalope Ranch 9 p.m. – 12 a.m.
11/14 Synergy Fest, Date Land Park 3:15 p.m. – 4 p.m.
11/14 La Quinta Brewery’s 2 year Anniversary 2 p.m.
11/20 The Red Barn, Palm Desert 9 p.m.
11/21 The Local Music Showcase at Schmidy’s Tavern with Mike Mozingo (Mix 100.5) 8 p.m.
Also, be watching for Hive Minds Kickstarter campaign early in November raising funds for the new EP.
For more information on Hive Minds, go to their website: thehivemindsmusic.co