Hometown: Boston, MA
Artistic Approach: To stay fresh by constantly releasing new music.
While an entire industry complains about today’s current music business model, one band has a plan: “One song a month, forever.” Cancer Killing Gemini releases a new song on their website, for free, the first of each month. In fact, the two most recent songs are always free. Giving away music isn’t a new idea, but CKG’s take on it is unique. After two months, the song goes into the back catalog and is available for purchase. If fans check in on the band every 30 days, they’ll be perpetually treated with new material free to download. “I’m not into letting it be free forever,” singer/founder Eric Michael Cohen explains. “That’s just not sensible.” With over a year’s worth of material online already, it seems the plan is working.
“We all know the hours suck and the pay sucks, so if it’s not fun, there’s just no reason to do it.”
Cohen released It Only Hurts When We Breathe under the CKG moniker in 2010. Then an electronic solo project, he desired to form a live band. The addition of bassist Andrew Padua, guitarist Chuck Pukmel, drummer Frank Hegyi and keysmith Max Butler immediately influenced CKG’s sound. Cohen’s singular vision became an exploratory experience, moving “towards something more organic very fast.” Also acting as CKG’s engineer, he records into Logic with an array of “fairly inexpensive” but “carefully chosen” microphones, such as M-Audio Pulsar IIs, Sennheiser e609s, and an Audix i5, a microphone he particularly cares for. “The rejection is so much better [than an SM57]. You get less hi-hats on the snare mic!”
Gone are the programmed drums, sequenced keyboards and most of Cohen’s initial electronica influence. “We’ve found our balance now. The all-electronic music can be fairly sterile. It’s a lot more fun playing with actual musicians.” A “side effect” of the group’s recording experiment is the drastic change in their sound from song to song. “It has turned into a living history of the band,” he says.
Cohen’s enthusiasm and dedication to the ambitious project is compounded by the fact that, in 2002, he had retired from music completely, “We all know the hours suck and the pay sucks, so if it’s not fun, there’s just no reason to do it.” Now, a newly inspired Eric Michael Cohen isn’t just playing, he and Cancer Killing Gemini are making up their own rules, one song at a time.
photo by Frank Hegyi