By Milla Molinar
El Paso band, Kikimora, headlined at Tricky Falls, recently, to showcase its first album to the public.
“Laika,” the album’s name, is a mixture of jazz, soul, and funk and features 10 original songs written by the group.
“Laika is the first ever creature, a biological living thing that orbited the earth in 1957,” said Hayley Lynch, lead singer/guitarist. “This project was done from Russia when the United States was competing with them in the space race. So, our music is about Laika going on this journey and it’s fulfilling a purpose of what it means to have life in outer space.”
The local El Paso band, which has been together for about two years, started working on the album at the beginning of the year with a few songs. As the months progressed, band members continued to write more, until they had 10 songs for the album.
“It came out very natural,” said piano synth player, Leo Benneto. “We didn’t lose time. We had three songs at the beginning of the year and then composed six or seven more songs in about three months,”
The group recorded and produced Laika with local recording studio, Star City Studios. They owe a lot of gratitude to producers, Eric Boseman and Leslie Johnson, for helping them find their sound for this album.
“We chose these producers because they have a heavy soul influence,” Lunch said. “Leslie Johnson actually has this soul sound that’s kind of what we’re trying to go for. Which is a new way of doing soul, jazz and funk. Working with both of them really helped us solidify the sound we were looking for.”
You could definitely hear the jazz influence at their album release show. The band’s major influence for music is a jazz sound. Whether it was the drum beats or the piano keys, the crowd at Tricky Falls was moving to this soulful band.
When the band first started writing, Bennato and Lynch were going in a jazz and R&B direction with their music. Then they included drummer, Albert Braum, and bassist, Jericho Cagle and it all came together when it was time to write songs for Laika.
“Our foundation is jazz soul. There are so many influences in modern music these days. The songs can change from the influence one genre has over the other,” Lynch said. Bennato agreed.
“The music has a little bit in all of us, so it’s more enjoyable,” he said. “We’re four different people coming from different places, personally and musically.”
The band played for friends, family and fans at Tricky Falls to promote their new album. They were very happy with everyone’s reaction.
“I’m really happy with how the album came out. It’s a lot more professional than things I’ve done in the past,” Cagle said.
Boseman also was very pleased with Laika. He enjoyed his time with the band.
“They were a total joy, nothing but fun,” Boseman said. “They’re so talented and probably the most focused band I’ve come across. These guys work hard. They put it all out there on the line. I expect really great things from them.”
Kikimora hopes to continue writing music and hopefully playing on bigger platforms in more cities around the country. Laika is out now on cdbaby.com.