CINCINNATI — While live music was shut down during the pandemic, Cincinnati band Heavy Hinges didn’t miss a beat when it came to writing songs.
Over the past year, Heavy Hinges crafted enough new material to record a live album at Urban Artifact in Northside and still perform all new songs during their WCPO Lounge Acts recording at Northside Yacht Club.
“We write songs very easily together. It’s just a very organic process,” singer MayaLou Banatwala said while holding her purple Brazilian wood electric ukulele. “We all wore masks the whole time. Now we’re all completely vaccinated.”
Guitarist and singer Dylan Speeg said he enjoyed the extra time spent on songwriting.
“It was interesting to write songs without any shows,” he said. “We really took a lot of time with our songwriting because we didn’t have to get them done for anything.”
Watch Heavy Hinges perform for WCPO Lounge Acts Sunday at 8 p.m.
Heavy Hinges consists of Banatwala and Speeg, along with Brian Williamson on drums, Kirk Hunter on guitar, and Andrew Laudeman on bass.
At its heart, Heavy Hinges is a melting pot of influences. The band began by covering its members’ favorite gospel standards like “Go Down Moses” and “Can’t No Grave Hold My Body Down” with an updated alt-rock vibe.
Since then, Heavy Hinges has found its own unique sound by exploring more genres. When pressed, names like Elvis Costello, Amy Winehouse, and 30s Italian jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt get dropped.
“I like to try to get as many influences in as I can,” Speeg told me. “Because they say as long as you’re ripping off three people at the same time, it’s original.”
Still, it’s the band's collective love for Motown-era hits and Banatwala’s self-described “obsession” with The Supremes keeps the band’s sound consistent among so many influences.
“We definitely have our feet in the history of music, in the past,” Speeg said. “We’re not trying to be super-progressive or anything. But I think what we come up with is very unique, because we all come from different backgrounds.”
“It’s from the heart,” she said.
You can catch Heavy Hinges live this summer at Bircus Brewery in Ludlow, Ky., on Friday, June 25, and at Ghost Baby in Over-The-Rhine on Saturday, July 24.