10 ? with Maya Kelly of Weather King.

Before forming Weather King, the individual members were already chasing their muse. Being enrolled in the acclaimed School of Rock, they began to craft their own music filtered through their admiration of groups like The Mars Volta and Radiohead.

Twin brothers Andy Zukoski (Keys) and Jack Zukoski (Bass) joined up with Trent Cruickshank (Guitar) and Ian Jeffrey (Drums). They soon found talented singer Maya Kelly to fulfill vocal duties. The mature arrangements and technical prowess of this band belies the fact that they are all still teenagers. An initial EP entitled “33” was an impressive debut, with numbers like Morgellons and Backbone being personal favorites of mine!

Even more impressive is the latest single, JeJune Bug. Catchy and bouncy, the song goes from lilting melodies to a nice prog-like middle section. Eager to learn more about what makes Weather King tick, I asked singer Maya some questions about the band. This interview is a good snapshot of young, talented musicians figuring out the world, music, and their place in both.

1. How did Weather King coalesce? Were you all acquaintances before hand, or did a few of you form and then recruit the others?

Andy Zukoski (piano and keyboards), his twin brother Jack Zukoski (bass guitar), Trent Cruickshank (guitar), and Ian Jeffery (drums) all played together in the Fort Worth School of Rock doing gigs in and out of the School of Rock under a number of different band names.  Although I was in the Dallas School of Rock,it is a community and I had heard of Weather King and heard they were looking for a singer.  They hired me at my audition and we’ve been gigging together ever since.

2. Does the band have clearly outlined roles in the songwriting process? For instance do you always come up with the lyrics and melodies?

We have loose songwriting roles, but they happen by default more than by design, and there are many exceptions. We prefer not to stick to rules as we think this makes for better creativity.  And a happy accident or beautiful mistake here or there can be a good thing.

3.Does the band write together, or do you create on your own sometimes and others add to the demos individually?

I know I said that we don’t really have rules about our songwriting, but one thing that I guess might be a rule is that we almost always write together. Like the old saying, a good song is written, a great song is co-written. 

4. Do you all as a band try to recreate your material live faithfully, or do you enjoy improvising to a degree?

Our intended audience for our records is radio, and our live show is more about the performance, so our arrangements at live shows are often different.  When we recorded our newest single, “Jejune Bug”, for example, we shortened the arrangement so it would better fit the time constraints of radio, but when we perform it live we follow the longer arrangement we originally wrote for the song.

5. Are you the type that writes down and saves lyrical ideas for future use, or do you specifically write new ones for each song?

I wish we had a library of song ideas and hooks that we could reach into anytime we wanted to write, but we’re not there yet, perhaps we just haven’t been on the planet long enough. However, I think that we will eventually do this.

6. As a songwriter, do you draw from your personal life exclusively or are you sometimes inspired by movies or novels?

Again, we haven’t been on the planet long enough to have a wealth of personal experiences, so we take inspiration wherever we can get it, though a lot of it has to do with school since that is such a big part of our lives, and the people and stories we learn about at school.

7. Some of your songs have complex and quirky arrangements. Do you pay attention to the time signature or do you memorize the song parts? (I mean this mostly as it applies to when a song is new).

We jot down the lyrics and arrangement as we write since those are the easiest to forget, and the guys tend to memorize the chord changes that support each lyrical phrase.

8. As a vocalist, do you actively listen to the whole band live, or do you tend to keep track of certain parts, the drums for instance?

I try to listen to each instrument, though each one for a different reason. Drums for timing and groove, bass for timing and chord progression, guitar for chord progression and song form, and keys for emotion and dynamics.

9. Will your new song “Jejune Bug” be part of a full album release?

We’d like to record another EP, or at least a follow up single, but we don’t have any definite plans at the moment.

10. What is the most exciting stage of a song’s creation for you?

I like finishing the recording of new song.  It’s kind of like payday, getting rewarded for long hours of work and seeing the fruits of hard labor.   Followed

closely by playing it live for the first time and seeing how the audience reacts.

To learn more about Weather King, visit the official site: https://www.weatherkingband.com/

Special thanks to Maya Kelly and Shauna O’Donnell of O’Donnell Media Group.

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