Karina Denike is a vocalist, composer, arranger and performer from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her original songs are comprised of snippets of torch songs, doo wop drama, Eastern European lullabies, crackly records and girl group harmony
Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
The performing group:
Karina Denike - Vocals, chord organ and songwriter
Lily Taylor - harmony vocals
Aaron Novik - Bass clarinet
James Frazier - Baritone electric Fender VI guitar -
Michael McIntosh - Keyboards
Eric Garland - drums
Extra Guests on the album include: Deston Berry, Alex Dessert, Brigid Dawson and Lily Taylor (vocals), Ralph Carney ( sax), Ara Anderson ( trumpet), Meric Long (guitar), Daniel Fabricant ( upright bass)
For starters, what other bands were you a part of prior to Karina Denike? How long has the band been around?
The band has been around since late 2010/early 2011. I've been in bands - Dance Hall Crashers, Jezebelle, The Cottontails, Mixtape ( with Meric Long of the Dodos and Brigid Dawson of Thee Oh Sees), Mr. Lonesome and The Bluebelles, Stara Nova, 8 Legged Monster big band, among others. I've also collaborated and guested on records by NOFX, Hepcat, No Use for a Name, Tony Sly, Ralph Carney's serious Jass Project, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, and many more fantastic groups. My band members have played with Donavon, Ralph Carney's serious Jass Project Jonathan Richman, Cosimo Lissy, , Floating world, The Cottontails, and many more.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
It's my name because I'm the primary writer, arranger, and band leader.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
Primarily I ( Karina Denike) write the songs for my band, though on this album two songs were collaborations with my guitar player James Frazier who has very cool ideas. My songs have a lot of different topics but this record does seem to have a lot of ocean themes, San Francisco references, stories of love, the people i'm around, ( friends and the music scenes i've been part of), nostalgia, drinking and longing. I have no idea what i will write about in the future...
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
Some of the things that inspired the new record 'Under Glass' -
Elvis Costello, The Ink Spots, The Staple Singers, Fun boy three, Desmond Dekker, Duke Ellington, Toots and the Maytails, Irma Thomas, The Ronettes,The Kinks, Ennio Morricone, The Beatles, The Beach Boys.
Some things that are inspiring the new music i'm writing now - Angel Olsen, Father John Misty, Lily Taylor, Jerry Dammers, Tina Turner ( from the Ike and Tina period), Tune-yards.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
Well, i was exposed to a lot of great music growing up in England. From classical to soul to rock and roll. We went to a lot of shows and my dad, my brothers and i used to pogo around the living room toThe Sex Pistols and The Specials. I loved Blondie and the Eurythmics and that made me realize you could be a front woman writing in a cool and interesting band. Then I saw a great art punk group with a female singer at a city festival in Cambridge, England that made me really want to get onstage. She was my idol. Her name was Pixie and i probably still have her autograph somewhere....
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, ect …
I warm up my voice, run through my songs, especially any new ones, drink a big cup of tea and get focused.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
OOOH. Well recently I played the opening party for the mega prestigious arts festival DOCUMENTA 2013 which was pretty epic, and played in London on that trip also which was so lovely. All my extended family and old friends ( since i grew up there) came out which was pretty intense in a great way and a total treat being the first time i had played my solo music there. I'd played the Reading festival in the past and other great venues with Dance Hall Crashers but somehow this was more special to me. I was also flown out to a do a private show in Tokyo, Japan with my piano player for my dear friend's clothing and design company Archi's 10th anniversary party. That was incredible. In the past i've played the Montreux Jazz festival in Switzerland, supported the Buzzcocks and Beck in European festivals and opened for Prince. All - super amazing.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
David Bowie - come on….swoon swoon swoon. And there'd be so much to learn from him.
Fun boy three - one of my all time favorites, cool stuff.
Neko Case - she's hilarious and her songs are beautiful.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
We have live shows coming up in the Bay Area including:
APRIL 16TH - AMNESIA, SAN FRANCISCO, CA. (ALBUM RELEASE SHOW) w/ Lily Taylor, Cosimo Lissy - Valencia st. SF, 9pm show, $10-, 18+
APRIL 17TH - AWAKEN CAFE, OAKLAND, CA. (ALBUM RELEASE SHOW) w/ Lily Taylor and more TBA Broadway Ave. Oakland
APRIL 18TH - Dave's Record Store - 4PM In-Store Performance for RECORD STORE DAY! San Pablo Ave. Berkeley, CA. More info TBA.