Local Limelight: Annie in the Water

Annie in the Water is a trio of guys performing their high energy acoustic music all over Upstate NY and beyond. Guitarist Michael Lashlomb, Keyboardist Dillon Goodfriend and Beatboxer/Lead Vocalist Brad Hester together create a unique genre all their own that fuses Rock, Reggae, Funk, Blues, Hip-Hop and Bluegrass for an impressively fun live performance. Their original lyrics are hopeful and uplifting, with messages of brighter days ahead. When matched with their fierce looping, hip hop flair and electronic beats, their music makes you feel invincible. Their music is similar to Dispatch, laid back island attitude meets fresh powder and the mountain to yourself.

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Michael, Dillon and Brad were kind enough to answer a few questions about how they came to be, their musical heroes, the winter weather and their upcoming shows with Twiddle.

Susan Rice: Where does the band name, Annie in the Water come from? How would you describe your sound to new listeners?

Michael Lashlomb: Annie in the Water was formed in the summer of 2007 when our friend Annie fell off of a dock on the St Lawrence River in the early hours of the morning. It was the first time Brad and myself had met up to write music. Brad suggested the name to me of a summary of our gnarly beginning and it stuck. We have been Annie in the Water ever since. We like to describe our sound as an Acoustic Dance Music. We use beat-box and looping mixed with live instruments and just punch it. We like to have fun and just play stuff we would want to vibe to.

SR: What music did you listen to growing up? Who are your musical influences?

ML: I was raised up on a mixture of Cat Stevens, The Beetles, Chicago, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin and other folks artists like Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. Also being raised in Cleveland Heights, OH I was exposed to a lot of funk and early 90’s hip hop like Notorious B.I.G, Tribe Called Quest, Wu Tang Clan and Big Pun. My biggest musical influence is Levon Helm from The Band. I also take a lot from Chuck Berry, The Boss, and Dave Matthews for their raw performance abilities and as for lead guitar players, I have to give props to David Gilmore, Trey, Jimi Hendrix, Derek Trucks, Jamie Anderson of The Fritz, Mihali of Twiddle and Warren Haynes.

Dillon Goodfriend: I think the first CD I bought was Green Day’s Dookie, or Barenaked Ladies’ Stunt. I remember trying to record Rob Zombie songs on a tape whenever it came on the radio. I think it started with any one on Drive-Thru Records or Epitaph Records, then fell into classic rock and jam when I started collecting vinyl. Seeing Keller Williams perform his solo looping act is what motivated me to start playing music. I’ve been strongly influenced by artists like Andrew Bird, Zach Deputy and Keller.

Brad Hester: I always had country music in the house since my parents enjoy the storytelling, but also my sisters and I were always in choir. My grandmother always had members of the family singing at Christmas, and I was always surrounded by some kind of music. Garth Brooks was an early influence when I was very young; the Backstreet Boys inspired me to develop my voice in Elementary School and around that time I also discovered Eminem and Incubus. As I got into High School my friends and I were really into 311, Pepper, Styx, Rage against the Machine and Dave Matthews. When I got into college and started performing, Mike introduced me to bands like Phish and The Grateful Dead and Bela Fleck.

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SR: What music are you listening to on the way to a show? When you’re snowboarding?

BH: Music on the way to a show ranges from Twiddle to moe to 311 to anything that people tell us to check out, and whereas sometimes I travel in complete silence to be in touch with my thoughts. While snowboarding I don’t usually listen to music because I like to hear my board on the snow. Being in the Northeast, there are sometimes a range of conditions that I need to be in touch with while tracing my path down the mountain, and that’s what I like to be fully in touch with.

DG: My car doesn’t have an Aux cord so I’m stuck with my CDs of moe., The Weekend, Canned Heat, plus I won all the Twiddle CDs in a giveaway. I don’t really listen to anything snowboarding because my phone can’t handle the cold.

ML: We also have tons of CD’s from bands we meet and love to vibe to their albums. A lot of different bands in the circuit like The Fritz, Blind Owl Band, Lucid, Spiritual Rez and Atlas Road Crew. As for music while snowboarding, I have chosen to go silent as well. The tree runs sound so rad and soothing and then when you launch some air on the cat tracks, the stomp sounds so good and def amps you up. I just sink into the snowboard experience and forget about the grind and just enjoy the pure unadulterated feeling of focus and flight.

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SR: it’s clear that Annie in the Water seems to embrace the winter season. You guys are playing all over the North Country and even outside at the Olympic Sky Jumps in Lake Placid at below zero temperatures. Why? What makes the winter season so special for you and your music?

BH: We wanted to create the same success for year-round performances that we were able to find in the summertime during our first few years of performing. With the activities that come with the winter season, we became committed to become involved more with outdoor activity and making music to bring people together and to inspire more people to take advantage of the natural backyard that we have.

ML: I love the snow and everything mountains so I will play any season, anytime of year especially for an event that involves people launching off of jumps doing flips. It’s not that we strive to always play in negative temps but we have had more than usual this season. It is actually pretty difficult because you can freeze up and lock up during the first minutes of the performance but we push through and stay focused on giving our fans a solid performance. The human body is so amazing how it adjusts and then warms up your body to meet the challenge. By the end of performances, our hands are steaming and we have plenty in the tank… The winter season is just so awesome and makes us who we are. The mountains and snow scene has had a huge influence on us and the style and culture of the ski and snowboard scene is very alive and cool. We like that and keeping wanting more and more. Plus we continue to meet such similar minded people that are great.

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SR: How do you feel about opening for Twiddle to help kick off their big winter tour at the Pickle Barrel at Killington VT? Have you been long time fans of Twiddle?

BH: I got that fire burning for this show because I know it is going be a great transition from us to them. We started hearing of Twiddle because multiple people who were at our shows across the Northeast asked us if we had heard of them. It naturally unfolded as we slowly became involved in some of the same circuit.

ML: Twiddle has a unique relationship with its fan and supporters because of the vibe they emit on and off stage and we really like that. They are being themselves and working within their own framework which has proved to be successful and growing very fast. This past year we have crossed paths with them and hung out with them a few times at shows. We are very grateful they added us to the bill at Pickle Barrel and we are very excited to contribute to the overall vibe of the night. It will be our first time linking up which will be unique and exciting.

Check out one of their first music videos “Hey, I’m On My Way” below that showcases their love of snowboarding, traveling and music.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtintqOSiV0]