The Squid Kids have been around the block a few times when it comes to playing shows in Greeley. Moving up a spot from fourth to third from last year’s Battle of the Bands, these Greeley natives continue to elevate themselves musically with each show. Originally started as a jam between front man Will “MC Grape” Duran and drummer Tom Martinez, the idea of a few songs quickly expanded into a full band fused with the unique and honest lyrics of Duran. The Squid Kids are made up of five very talented musicians: Duran on vocals, Carlos Gutierrez on lead guitar, Chris Manichanh on bass, Martinez on drums, and Hector Lopez on rhythm guitar.
Although hip-hop bands are common, the Squid Kids have a frankness to them that separates them from the run-of-the-mill band that happens to have a rapper in it. You won’t find Duran emulating the “thug” image that has been popular in mainstream hip-hop for so long now, but rather he approaches his audiences with stories anyone from any walk of life can relate to, because that is simply who he is. All five members of the Squid Kids are just regular guys who enjoy making the kind of music they love to listen to. This is an element that has taken them from a basement band to a staple in the northern Colorado music scene, which came across to the audiences and the judges at the Battle of the Bands.
“We tried to approach it as just another night for the Squid Kids. We’ve been gigging pretty heavily in the Fall of 2012 and there was a temptation to notch it just and do something crazy to win the contest, but we knew that if we just did our thing that it would work out better. And that’s what happened,” says Manichanh.
On the instrumental side of the band, it all starts with lead guitarist Gutierrez. According to the band, he is usually the one who comes up with the first licks that form the basis for their songs. From there, the rest of the band jams and builds off of it while Duran develops the lyrics. Musically, the band grooves less like a hip hop band and more like a rock band, almost in the vein of Gym Class Heroes and, dare I say, Interpol, where none of the musicians were tempted to take the lead over the lyricist. Even though, with two guitarists and a live drummer, this can be a difficult task, the Squid Kids have found a solid medium between the two.
With them now gigging regularly in Denver and the rest of Colorado, their sound has really solidified over the last year, showing the potential they have future success. With the improvements made in the last year since the last Battle of the Bands, all the band really needs is a solid album to tour on and they will find a receptive audience outside of their usual venues.
Photos by Rachel Waltman.