Friday, October 23, 2009

Get To Know - Nine Mile Smile

Why do I love going to MWEP meetings? All the fun people I get to meet. And one of those people is Kurtis of Nine Mile Smile. Nine Mile Smile is West Michigan's premiere wedding band. Nine Mile Smile is a group of professional musicians with many combined years of playing and performing. 9MS brings the party with them wherever they go. From local bars and clubs to casinos, corporate parties and weddings - the energy level on stage is always high.

Get To Know...Nine Mile Smile...

1. Who are the members of the band and what do they play?

We have 6 full time members of the band and 1 Sound Engineer (part time). Rex plays rhythm guitar, and I (Kurtis) play drums. Together, we founded the band, and both act as managers when it comes to the business aspects of the band. We also both sing back up vocals. Katie is our lead singer, has been singing her whole life, and she has some major pipes! Tighe plays bass guitar and helps with vocals. We call him the musical rainman because he was born with perfect pitch. He can tell you what note your car horn beeps at! He also directs the ensemble and vocals during rehearsals. With all of us singing together, we have a pretty sweet 4-part harmony. Our two newest members are Joaquin, who plays lead guitar, and Matt who plays keyboards. They are spectacular, and really shine during their solos. For gigs like weddings, festivals and events, we bring on our sound engineer Ken. He is a master behind the sound and lightboards. It really becomes a full production when he is along!

2. How long has the band been together? How did you all meet?

Rex and I started a version of this band about 5 years ago. Back then, we were Midnight Detour and were just taking off in a big way when 3 members had new babies, and one moved to Tampa for a job. So, almost 2 years ago, Rex and I basically started over and knew we wanted to put together a band with great musicians. We scoured West Michigan and found Tighe and Katie, and an East Coast keyboard player that was only here working for a year. When he left, we hired Matt, and then added Joaquin to fill us out even more. I think we've found the right combination of folks to really make our performances something people remember.

3. What types of music do you play?

We play Top 40 Songs from the 70's-00's. Our main focus however, is 80s and 90's Pop. Think Michael and Madonna, Journey, the Bangles, the B-52s... even Neil Diamond! Stuff everyone knows but aren't necessarily expecting. Our favorite thing is a jam packed dance floor, and we like to keep it that way!

4. What are some of the most requested songs? What is one of the craziest requests you've gotten?

Everyone requests Free Bird. It got to a point where if someone requested it, we would stop right there and play the song. It was never on the setlist, but we played it every single gig. You should see the look on peoples faces when we pull it out. The strangest request? Well, we recently played something called the Harvest Moon Ball. Think Prom meets Shadyside Retirement Home. It was fun, but I dont think they were expecting a rock band. We had a couple requests for a Foxtrot, or a Waltz. It started a little shaky with them not knowing what to expect, but we take great pride in being able to feel out any crowd and we were able to give them what they wanted. It turned out to be a really fun night for everyone.

5. What type of events are you available for?

That's the beauty of our band, we are up for anything. However, I think we really specialize in weddings. I love being able to work with a bride to give her exactly what she's thinking for her reception. Besides that, we can do anything you can come up with. If you need something soft, we offer a whole night of just jazz. If you want to do a country theme we have a whole night of just country music. I'd have to say though, the best idea I've heard lately was having an 80's/90's prom party where everyone dresses up and we play only 80s/90s music.

6. Is there anything special you do for weddings or events?

We take weddings very seriously. This is your day, and we will do everything and anything to make sure it goes off without a hitch. From the day we are booked, I work very closely with the bride and groom to make sure every base is covered. From the introductions of the wedding party, to the first dances, to the break music in between our sets, everything is chosen to make sure the bride gets exactly what she wants. We also ask the couple to pick any 5 songs for us to learn and play on their day. It could be their favorite songs, it could be their first dance songs, it can be anything they want. It's a ton of fun to introduce "their song" before we play it. Because this is your most important day, we make sure we're up there presenting you in the most professional way possible. We're all very comfortable playing in our suits!

7. Why should someone book a band like yours rather than a DJ?

There is so much more energy at your event with a live band. It's an entirely different atmosphere, a different vibe. I think sometimes people are afraid to book bands because they think they are too expensive, or they are afraid a band wont be as professional. I cant speak for every band, but I will say with Nine Mile Smile, you get a very professional group of people that will treat your event as their own. A lot of bands don't enjoy doing weddings or corporate events, but we are the opposite. It really is our specialty! As for the price, we arent out to make a bunch of money. We all have "real" jobs. We arent trying to make it big. We do it because it's fun, and because we love to be the life of the party. I will say though, like with everything, but especially in the entertainment business - you get what you pay for!

8. Anything else about Nine Mile Smile you would like to share?

When it comes to booking entertainment, we know you have many choices. If you think that a DJ is the only way to go because of budget, ease, or because you think they can play everything, I urge you to talk to us and see what we offer. I can provide a list of past clients with their personal letters of referrals to help you make your decision. I know they were all skeptical at first too, but once you hear us, talk to us, and work with us - there's no question you'll want us!

1 comment:

Aletha | Pearls Events said...

What a great interview, Michelle! It was fabulous meeting Kurtis at MWEP last month.