by Michelle Neigut
I don’t know about you, but I happen to notice that in every generation, there always seems to be a melting of the spiritual souls, or what have you, and you end up with a sound that seems to belong in another time and place; but all the same you are all the more grateful that it’s here and now. If Heaven exists, I wouldn’t want God to say anything to me at the Pearly Gates. Instead, I would want to drink some wine and play poker with Claude Monet, John Lennon, Earnest Hemingway, and I would be remise to forget James Dean and Marilyn Monroe. Whether your circle of fame differs from mine, we all have to agree it does sound like something we would enjoy. Recently, I had the pleasure of experiencing something as close to this heavenly poker game as I feel I am ever going to get.
Satellite Hearts; close your eyes and imagine what you think the name might mean. Looking at the logo which appears to be the all seeing, all knowing eye, I envisioned it belonging to be something out of Adam Douglass’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Believing that there was something special behind the name, nothing could have prepared me for what could only be described as the most inspirational, soul-defining, idea. According to drummer Keaton Thandi, “. . . it can mean whatever you want it to mean.” While the statement itself is rather simple, the answer on the other hand remains as vast and endless as the universe; you may as well be asking what is the meaning of life? And we all know the answer is 42.
Recently the four have come off a series of the traditional end of the summer tours. When performing at the Hard Rock Cafe, the usual atmosphere of family friendly and smothered by rock and roll memorabilia and souvenir martini glasses, it’s not what the band is used to. What’s better American than American craft beer and dueling pianos at Jolly’s Dueling Piano Bar, where the four really get in touch with that something that sets them apart; that perfect harmony of jazz fusion and rock n’ roll. Collaborating with the vivacious and soulful Momma Holler earlier this month at Bar Matchless in the heart of New York brings new life to the celebration of the times and tunes before house parties. And yet, house parties where the music bounces off the smoke-covered walls and beer can littered, sticky floors surrounded by sixty or seventy people in a basement designed for twenty is more of the band’s style. Nevertheless, the eclectic foursome always perform as if every note just may have be their last.
One of the band’s more impressive songs is lead singer Justin Pellecchia’s own “Getting Along.” The masterpiece came to him in a dream and eventually transformed into a reality as “Three bells ring at will by the seashore. Pray tell wishing well, four to the floor” and is surely a chorus that once heard never leaves the mind. Lyrically the quartet explores the world beyond simple heartaches and mundane experiences. Instrumentally, the jam sessions that find their way to the stage between transitions, is what this writer personally believes has the power to put this band on the map; to take them wherever these boys want to go, because according to guitarist Dre DiMura, paraphrasing everyone’s favorite beatnik author Jack Kerouac ,”the only thing stopping someone from achieving happiness is fear and laziness,” something of which this band has neither.
Watching Thandi close his eyes, he tilts his head back as he finds his own inner peace behind the drums. DiMura’s fingers are raw and unapologetic as his chord progressions course through the audience like lightning. One moment Pellecchia’s voice appears soft but the next moment carries a big stick as his octave range pushes his own boundaries and becomes the DeLorean to transport us back into the years of peace, love and music. Bass player Lucas Rinz plucks and strums the incredible energy out of the room only to send it back out into the audience ten-fold. “Look around, won’t you question this place? If I were king, you wouldn’t have to pay.” Throughout the remainder of our interview, the foursome could not stop admiring those who have come before them. A band who is most highly influential, The Beatles. Only the music world’s greatest guitar player, Jimi Hendrix. The king with the gyrating hips, Elvis. And “Lady Day” herself, Billy Holiday. To the world, they were merely musicians. But to a band such as Satellite Hearts and even yours truly, they were an inspiration; an inspiration to be something more. And not only is this band something more, they are truly old souls.
Formed back in 2009 as a trio, Pellecchia, Rinz, and Thandi were the original old souls to make up Satellite Hearts along with their first EP Imperial Green. Which, for the record, only took three days to record in its most raw and unnatural form. It wasn’t until 2012, after following in another direction from Resin Gypsy, did guitarist DiMura join the band to form the fab four that they are today.
September 13th marked the release date for the band’s brand new EP, Four to the Floor, from Converse Rubber Tracks Studio. And Toronto is about to get a whole lot more soulful as the band makes their way to Indie Music Week from October 16-20th. Guys this one is for you and everyone else, do with it what you will, “Maybe that’s what life is. . . a wink of the eye and winking stars.”– Jack Kerouac