Q: What is your sound and style?
A: We're an acoustic duo. We're sometimes with bass and percussion, too, from members of a band (we're both in) called Bangerang. (It's) a five-, sometimes six-piece cover band that plays classic rock ... to current stuff. We're in that group and we wanted to do ... an acoustic duo. Melissa I think had come up with the name Duende (pronounced dwen-day) which loosely translated means a physical or emotional response to music. Basically, it means having soul.
Q: What songs do you play?
A: It's a cover duo. We'll do "Carry On Wayward Son" from Kansas, but it's ... with just a female vocalist and guitar. We also do stuff like Ellie Goulding, Halestorm — some hometown heros— Heart, Cyndi Lauper and ... Feist.
Q: How did Melissa get into music?
A: She's from New Zealand. She was born there. When she joined Bangerang we were kicking songs around and she said, "I never heard of this song." These songs are pretty popular in America. With Duende, she wants to do songs that I've never heard of but are popular in New Zealand. There's an artist called Gin Wigmore, whose got a really cool song that we do in Duende. So, that's nice to have ... the diversity.
Q: How did you meet?
A: She has always sang, and she was in theater and musicals and things like that. Eventually, she made it onto "New Zealand's Got Talent" in 2008. She didn't win, but she was a semifinalist. She had been involved in a relationship and moved to Dover. Bangerang found her on Craigslist. She's an absolute powerhouse on vocals. Now, she lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her and I will Skype and text ... and get some ideas like that. We don't need to practice much, but we do ... when she comes into town.
Q: Have you played in other groups?
A: For me, I've been in and out of projects for the last few years just in the York scene. I was in Fattore for a little bit. That paved the way for Bangerang Then I'm in another power rock trio called Broken Buddha. We're all trying to keep busy and do all these other projects. With Duende we just kind of got it off the ground. It was actually an idea Melissa had maybe last year. We're still new. We don't have any music up just yet. In time, I want to get a ReverbNation page and YouTube.
Q: Do you think social media can make or break a band?
A: I do all the social media sites for the other two bands, too. I think I have eight twitter accounts. I like the social media stuff, so that's kind of fun for me. I think it's easier to do the do-it-yourself promotion. A lot of the social media sites, you can integrate. Sometimes when you do a post, it can go to the other platforms as well. I try to get out as much as I can to see local stuff around here in York. I think that's kind of key, too — to support the hundreds of people (who) are out in York.
Q: Are you trying to bring something different to the scene?
A: With York, we have a lot of folk acts and sort of jam band stuff. Our category would be acoustic rock. When we started (Bangerang) my philosophy there was that we see a lot of cover bands. Oftentimes, I hear the same stuff. My goal was to make a set list of 50 songs and have the different varieties of music that you don't hear. That is what we wanted to do with Duende. With both bands, we're big fans of medleys. We'll play a minute or two of four songs. You are going to hear different material or maybe a different take on a song you already know. With (Melissa and me) it's a pretty raw, striped-down sound. When it is the two of us, there's not really room for more than what my fingers can do and her voice can do.
Q: What are the dynamics of the duo?
A: Ninety percent of the duos I've been in (come down) to dynamics. You've got to be in tune with each other. There is not much room for error. We've been together in Bangerang for a little (more than) two years. (We) just have chemistry from there and we're friends, too. That always helps. It's fun. That's the big thing with any project I'm involved in. (Duende) is a good fit. With practice, like anything, it will just get better.
Contact Erin McCracken at 717-771-2051.