Band discusses life after Tammie

By Noah Lopez

Arizona Daily Wildcat

This year has been amazing for the local music scene, with several bands and their albums garnering national attention.

Although Black Moon Graffiti has only been around ten months, they have established themselves as a band to be reckoned with locally, both as a Tammie winner and as one of the more creative bands in an anemic local genre. Their hip-hop/rock/diva blend has become a staple of Club Congress, the Downtown Performance Center and the Cushing Street Bar & Grill, and the band has opened up for funk legends Zapp and Roger.

The Wildcat caught up with vocalist Amy Stuenkel, lead guitarist Bill Mericle, rhythm guitarist Alex Skelton and drummer Marc Contreras to talk about label interests and the band's music.

Wildcat: How did you guys come together . you all have pretty diverse backgrounds?

Amy: Well, Shawn Crawford and Whiplash [the bassist and rapper, respectively] would meet in Ohio in the summer and rap and play bass, and they ended up in Tucson.

Alex: I had met Shawn and talked about forming a band and then I got together with Whiplash and we found we had the same interests.

Amy: I ended up going on a double date with the guys and they told me about their band and asked me if I could sing. So I sang for them in the car and they liked it and asked if I wanted to join the band.

Alex: The first time I heard her voice I had chills all over my body.

WC: You guys have a pretty different sound for Tucson, you don't really fit into any particular scene, but you've become very popular .

Amy: People want to categorize us but they can't. I can see that they like us but they don't know why.

Alex: We take rap and vocals and we're playing it live with all the different backgrounds that we have ńclassical and jazz, latin, traditional rock, there's a '70s R & B influence . everything comes together and creates something totally different.

Amy: We have a flair for performance, creativity and diversity. We're just enjoying ourselves, and we show a lot of effort and professionalism .

Alex: We're bringing something new and we'll open up doors if we're successful. Tucson has three or four standard sounds . this adds to it, it's a good contribution. People can open their minds.

Bill: It's dance music . it's danceable all the way through.

Amy: People have fun listening to our music.

WC: There was quite a buzz surrounding you for a while, with the Tammies and rumors of label interest . any comment on that?

Alex: We were approached by someone claiming to be from a label, and they really liked us, but later we found out that things weren't quite true. He talked to us under the pretense of getting us on his label, but then he backed out.

WC: I get the feeling you're being pretty diplomatic.

Alex: (laughs)

Amy: It's just something about the business you need to know . some things are good, some things are crappy . you just have to be patient. We learned a lot from that.

WC: Any plans for an album?

Alex: We've got a couple more shows to do, then we're going to sit down and pick some songs we like. We're going to do it ourself then find someone to distribute it. Then possibly do a tour.

WC: What other plans do you have for the future . do you see yourself leaving Tucson to succeed?

Alex: I think we can make it out of Tucson. Too many bands think they need to leave to make it.

Bill: It's a good place to work out of . it's a great place to live, it's cheap.

Amy: We have to become jetsetters [making connections] . other bands have made it out of Arizona.

Alex: People should just come out and experience something different, they might enjoy it . support live music.

WC: For the kids.

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