Luke Alexander is Big Hoax. Or, well, he’s pretty much Big Hoax. He also grew up in Frederick and on Saturday, the day after Halloween, he’ll be bringing his Big-Hoax-Blend of original tunes to Cafe Nola along with Skribe. Based out of Annapolis now, we caught up with Alexander through a handful of emails, and below is the transcript. Tickets are only three bucks for the show, and as Alexander said yesterday on Twitter, “So many secrets will be revealed” in the following Q&A. This is the part where your interest should be piqued.
Let the OHHHs and AHHHs commence!
What’s your perception of the music scene in Frederick? What are some differences between here and other places, like Annapolis, or say, even Baltimore? Do you see it growing?
I grew up here in Frederick, playing open mics and writing songs until I later graduated from the University of Maryland and moved to Annapolis for work. I met a few musicians and started a band which later became Big Hoax. I think Frederick’s music scene is strong and unique in its eclectic taste. I’ll go to a show and never know what I’m going to get. Folk, jazz fusion, electronic and even alt-pop or hip-hop, and I can always bet that it’s going to be great. There’s a lot of truly gifted talent here. Comparatively to Annapolis, I think the music scene there is equally strong in its own way. Annapolis has an incredible number of talented musicians actively playing, and a great concentration of venues holding music. I think the average person doesn’t typically think “music city” when they think of Annapolis, but it certainly is. Baltimore, I’m really still learning and growing to love. I think Frederick’s scene is strong, but being the second biggest city in Maryland, we could see more growth with our venues, although, during the summer months, our abundance of events and festivals holding music certainly compensate. One thing I am sure about with all three are they each seem to have their own identity. There is a tremendous amount of love amongst musicians in the scenes, and I think we should all be connecting with each other from city to city.
You also said you might be recording soon — can you tell us a little about what to expect from your next album? It’s going to be your first full-length, right?
Yes, I’m very excited about going into the studio with this next album. So far, I’ve recorded an EP and a few singles with Big Hoax, but a full-length is a first. I expect this album to be wildly different from anything I’ve done before. A lot of our fans know these songs because we’ve been playing them for almost two years to extend our sets. This is going to offer so much potential in the studio because we truly know these songs. From a songwriter/producer’s perspective, if you really know your songs, as opposed to have just recently written and learned them, you have so much more room for creativity in the studio. For example, you don’t have to waste time with figuring them out and deciding where to start. I think this combined with how much I’ve learned from so many of the musicians I’ve worked with lately is going to help create something I’m really proud of.
Who are some of your major influences and why?
My parents, both being trained musicians, put a natural spark in me. I can’t get away from it. My mother always used to read me poetry, and at a young age, I had developed a love for it. She inspired me to sing more, and I eventually learned to play the guitar and put everything together. As far as songwriting, I love honest music. Songwriters like Roger Waters, Nina Simone, Ryan Adams and Dave Matthews seem to admit a lot about themselves in their songwriting. I really admire that, and find it freeing and real to sing along to. That, combined with everything I feel and learn about, influence me very deeply.
Where are some of your favorite places to play (cities/venues) and why?
We’ve toured a little bit so far, and outside Maryland, I really enjoyed playing in Tennessee. We played a few shows in Knoxville, Murfreesboro, and Nashville, and those were really fun times. Visiting a place you’ve never been to before and having people coming up to you saying things like, “We looked you up and had to come,” is such an honor. Other than that, there’s no place like home. Annapolis and Frederick have some of my favorite spots. Metropolitan Kitchen and Lounge in Annapolis is a great room where we always have a good turnout with a ton of energy. Some of my favorite shows have been there. Café Nola is a bar I frequent to see new regional bands all the time. I’m very excited to be playing as one of those bands.
Could you give us some names of some great local original artists we might not already know? Who are you a fan of locally and who should we keep an eye on?
There’s really so many. After going to some recent shows, there’s a funk/dance band in the area I’ve seen called Cutting Agent. I also had a chance to catch a hip-hop/jam group called Joint Effort. Both were really fun shows and the bands had lots of energy. Local bands I’m excited to see are Time Columns and Heavy Lights. I hear they can tear it up. As far as Annapolis and Baltimore, I really enjoy Swampcandy, Skribe, Bumpin Uglies, and The Herd of Main Street. The list could go on and on.
What can we expect from your show here at Cafe Nola?
You can expect a ton of energy. We really like to get down with our audience and just have a bunch of fun. I’ll be playing with cellist Stephen Filer, and my new drummer friend, Peter Krutschnitt. We’re very excited to play Café Nola’s stage. I’m bringing on a friend from Annapolis who goes by Skribe to open us up. It’s going to be an awesome time.