Satellite Bar and Lounge
120 Greenfield Street
April 22nd • FREE
Chapel Hill-based band Aminal may only have one CD out, but that hasn’t stopped the energetic three-piece rock band from gaining much popularity and many fans across North Carolina. Wilmingtonians will be able to experience the trio’s incredible sound on Friday, April 22, at the Satellite Bar and Lounge.
The fast, syncopated rhythms incorporated through a tight combination of keyboard, drums and guitar give off a sound like the indie rock band Spoon. Lead singer Patrick O’Neill’s baritone vocals are peppered with a Southern rock element that brings forth a pre-“Only By the Night” Kings of Leon-like sound. On their EP, “The Fight,” the song “Strength From Within” is a fun, guitar-heavy arena-rock anthem with rattling drums that intensify, building anticipation before the echoing harmonic chorus that resounds, “Who am I around you / Am I around you / Am I around you / When I’m around you.”
The band shows off clever lyrics and a gentler side in “Things I Say,” a ballad emphasizing the keyboard, lighter electric guitar strumming and slowed-down percussions. “I won’t trade your name / For a brush with fame / And a hollow life,” O’Neill sings softly.
For both “The Fight” and the records in process, the band experimented to find a style that complemented what each member brought to the table, musically. “The songs allowed us to find what our parameters as musicians could be,” O’Neill says. “We didn’t want to go too synthesized or too electro, because it would clash with the quality of my voice that’s sort of a gruff. We were shooting for more of a roots-rocks sound, sort of like a Tom Petty vibe or early American rock ‘n’ roll. Some have said there’s a Southern, indie rock quality to it.”
Aminal has spent almost a year and half recording their nearly completed first full-length, “Bang All Our Drums,” with an expected release date in the fall. Simultaneously, they will be working on another EP this summer, “Aggressive Zebra.” However, O’Neill notes that the sound on each will be completely different from one another, and trying out different genres has been rewarding for the band.
“‘Bang All Our Drums’ is a rock ‘n’ roll record with a bit of a psychedelic twist,” he says. “‘Aggressive Zebra’ is going to be more of a Steely Dan, Harry Nilsson-influenced sound; a jazzy, early ‘60s-ish sort of thing. We wanted to have two projects in the can and release two separate things without going a long time between releases. It’s nice, after you work on something for so long, to kind of take everything in a different direction and really reenergize.”
Though O’Neill says that “The Fight” was mainly fueled lyrically by heartbreak and the loss of a friend, “Drums” will channel a different perspective. The events and emotions occurring in Aminal’s personal lives recently have come from a positive angle. “Nothing bad has been going on in our lives, so this is not so much of a love lost kind of album, but more of like a rally cry; different place of writing,” O’Neill says.
While Aminal is excited about their upcoming releases, they are content with the music scene in Chapel Hill and plan to stay there for at least the next few years. O’Neill recalls playing in former bands in the past that tried to force ideas not everyone agreed upon; he wants Aminal to be genuine.
“We’re basically smack dab in the middle of the east coast,” O’Neill says. “Nashville’s only eight hours west of us, and it’s not a stretch to get to Austin. There have been talks about us moving to Wilmington or Nashville, but that would have to be under different circumstances, because we’re based here as far as our careers. For now, we’re going to stay and just kind of see what happens; see what kind of response we get.”
Unlike the motives of some musicians, Aminal is purely about doing what they love: playing music. They care far less about money and success than being happy. “It’s not like we’re doing this to be rich or famous,” O’Neill recounts. “We’re doing this because at the end of the day, it’s what makes us happiest. It just so happens that it’s in a medium that allows us to share that with people.”
Aminal goes on at 10 p.m. at The Satellite on April 22nd; doors at 8 p.m.