Check out our indie music feature: Keep For Cheap! Now playing on Cavalletto Radio
What is your inspiration to create and perform music? How did you get your start in music?
All five of us are HUGE music fans and were raised in musical homes. Music has played a major role in all our lives– although we all have significantly different music tastes ranging from classic rock, heavy metal, to somber piano and indie tunes. That said, I think our love for music compelled each of us to create and perform music. We each kind of have a different story about how we got started in music: three of us (Kate Malanaphy, Ted Tiedemann, and Bert Northrup) played in an after-school program called School of Rock where kids basically learned and performed cover songs and competed with our School of Rock programs across the country. Autumn Vagle (hi, that’s me) was a huge band, choir, and musical theatre—yes, all three!— nerd in high school, and started songwriting just before college. Lydia Williams grew up in Bloomington, MN, a suburb of the Twin Cities, and was super involved with the local music scene starting from when she was a preteen. Kate and Autumn met in the Hamline University A Cappella Choir in 2017 and became fast friends, started playing music as a duo until over time each member was added through mutual friends and pure fate!
Who is your Mount Rushmore of musicians and why?
This is too hard! When people ask what bands we sound like or are inspired by, we tell them: Big Thief, Waxahatchee, Hop Along, Great Grandpa, and Girlpool. These are all just amazing bands with music that we love dearly. The songwriting for each band is so emotional, raw, and intense, which are elements we try to bring to our music. Also, these bands’ instrumentation is compelling to us; the natural rock elements of the acoustic and electric guitars with some added twang, and then the hardcore emotional femme vocals are everything we strive for and more.
What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you in reference to your creative career?
Never stop creating! Releasing music or creating something for others, in general, can be so scary, and it is easy to get caught in your own headspace about whether what you’re doing is good or bad. Regardless of your own opinions, keep going and creating because your art might make a huge impact on someone else, and usually you are the one holding yourself back.
How would you describe the music you create?
We say it is indie rock music with a crunch, like walking on fall leaves. We call ourselves a prairie-rock band! In general, we make indie rock with folk, punk, and some pop influences.
What is your creative process?
Kate or I (Autumn) write the barebones of the songs—like just the chords or feel of the song, as well as some rough lyrics. Then we will bring it to the band, and everyone will just kind of jam to it! Everyone writes their own parts, but it is all super collaborative. Everyone has great ideas that we usually incorporate into the final version of the song. It is so cool to hear how a song evolves from being a rough voice recording on Kate or my phone, to being the final mix from an audio engineer.
Plans for the future? Are you working on anything new?
Yes, we have a lot of new stuff in store! We have a single “Losing” that came out on Thursday, June 17 that we recorded last summer, so it is a snippet of that era for us. We also just joined the roster on Lost and Found Touring based in Philadelphia, so we have a new manager and booking agent through that amazing group. Moving forward, we have our debut album coming out (hopefully) this year, and that sound is more polished, but still classic Keep for Cheap. We recorded the album with Con Davidson who drums for the Bad Bad Hats. Singles from that will probably start coming out this summer. Lastly, we have some shows booked for the summer/fall, so we are ecstatic to be back performing on stage! A big show for us is on July 30 at the Entry—we are opening for the aforementioned Bad Bad Hats!
What activities outside of music influence your music and creativity?
Being in the outdoors personally influences my songwriting greatly, and I know others in the group feel similarly. I grew up on a lake up in Northern Minnesota, so any time I can be back outside in the woods, near water, or just somewhere quiet and serene is inspiring to me and my songwriting. Apart from that, I think going to concerts, house shows, and listening to other bands’ music is a huge influence, too!
If you could write a fortune cookie, what advice would you want people to read after 20 pounds of general Tso?
Don’t take yourself too seriously; life is fun!
What is your favorite song to karaoke to?
I was just thinking about this, because a great fear of mine is being put on the spot for karaoke and not having a song to sing. I think I would choose SOS by ABBA, or I Want to Break Free by Queen. Of course, now that I type that, I am second-guessing everything.
Have any weird talents?
I can sing with my mouth closed!
The wildest moment in your career as musicians?
Nothing too wild yet, but we were asked to open for local legendary band Bad Bad Hats, whom we love! So that is exciting.
Favorite pre-performance meal or ritual? And the post-performance meal or ritual?
We are a huge Taco Bell band; Taco Bell before AND after gig, haha!
What is your all-time favorite venue to play?
I love playing the 7th Street Entry at First Ave. It is smaller so feels more intimate, but still has the nice sound set up and stage of a larger venue.
Additional Information: (In order of joining the band) Autumn Vagle (she/her): Lead vocals, acoustic guitar, sometimes bass. Kate Malanaphy (she/they): vocals, bass, sometimes acoustic guitar. Bert Northrup (he/him): electric guitar. Ted Tiedemann (they/him): electric guitar. Our music as well as some merch is available for purchase on https://keepforcheap.bandcamp.com/. Follow us on all social media to stay in the know @keepforcheap—including TikTok! For booking inquiries, contact our booker at firstname.lastname@example.org. For general inquiries, contact email@example.com.
Last, our new single “Losing” is a sister song to our last release, “Forgive Me.” So if you haven’t heard that song, or seen the cute farm music video, please listen/give it a watch beforehand!
To learn more about Keep For Cheap go check out their webpage for all of their info! keepforcheap.com
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Indie music feature: Keep For Cheap
Editor and Chief, Cavalletto Magazine
Owner And Operator of Burton Media Group
Christopher Burton is a acclaimed Photographer and has appeared in many shows, galleries, and publications over the years.