A number of artists in recent years have tried blending hip hop with alternative rock, but few do it as fluidly as Bergen County’s Green Knuckle Material. The band consists of five eccentric friends who combine influences from several different genres to craft some of the most dynamic tunes of the New Jersey indie music scene.
Green Knuckle Material can be aggressive or mellow, and each one of their tunes stands apart from the last without losing the band’s overall unique quality. The group offers tracks that’ll serenade you after a long day as well as tracks ripping beats that you’ll be forced to (attempt to) rap along with.
Green Knuckle Material came out with their eight-track, debut album, Back To Your Roots, in 2016. Then this past August, the band released the Bad Cat Sessions single, “Lullaby,” another quality alternative rock track with a welcome hip hop twist. Their brand EP, Renaissance, featuring the single “Soon As” comes out on December 9.
Don’t miss Green Knuckle Material during their Renaissance release show in Hawthorne, NJ! For tickets: Brownpapertickets.com/event/3090640?date=1781428.
Green Knuckle Material is:
Scatterbrain PG – Rap vocals
Young Dan – Guitar, Lead Vocals
D-String – Bass, Vocals
Mudd Dog – Guitar
The Hawaiian – Drums
You guys have a really unique, distinct sound. How did you decide this would be the style of music you were going to play?
Green Knuckle Material: We really didn’t decide. Green Knuckle Material (GKM) was originally a four-piece with only D-String and the Hawaiian as part of the original line-up. That is where our sound mostly has come from. But adding Mudd Dog on electric guitar, we brought a little bit of a punk influence. Scatterbrain PG brings a hip hop vibe, and Young Dan brings a pop presence. Everyone brings something different, and we kind of all just do our thing, and bam, you’ve got GKM.
Who are some of the musicians who have really influenced your sound and style?
GKM: Everyone has a different influence. Young Dan has a man crush on Ed Sheeran; the Mudd Dog is heavily influenced by the howls of Arctic wolves; the Hawaiian learned everything he knows from the Polynesian percussionist who raised him; D-String really likes to play on the D string; and Scatterbrain PG is influenced by currently unreleased music from the year 2046.
You must have a really interesting songwriting process. What is that like?
GKM: D-String and Young Dan do most of the writing, but when they bring their ideas to the band, that is when the music really starts to take shape. We put the hook and the music first. Once we have that, Scatterbrain takes it to the lab and makes love to the beat, creating “musical fusion.” Sometimes he goes off in a room by himself, and we just hear explosions, swirling winds, and sometimes the sounds of animals fighting.
What hobbies outside of music do you enjoy that rejuvenate your musical creativity?
GKM: Young Dan really likes being hot, and he’s good at it. The Hawaiian enjoys luaus, volcano surfing, and a good pig roast. Mudd Dog spends most of his time chasing balls and sniffing butts. D-String likes to build stuff out of Legos. And Scatterbrain PG usually just pops a Senzu Bean.
Your debut album, Back to Your Roots, was released in the fall of 2016. Does that album follow a specific theme?
GKM: We’ve undergone some serious line-up changes since that album was released, so we honestly don’t think about it much. It’s really about nostalgia though and kind of embracing the past.
What are some of your favorite tracks from that album to perform live?
GKM: Since we added Scatterbrain as our rapper, the only songs from that album we play are “Go That Way,” “Rebels on the Run,” and “Childhood.” Occasionally, we will play “New Jam,” “Mystified,” and “Wake up” with D-String, AKA Scatterpuff JR — his rapper alias — spitting. Our favorite though is “Go That Way” for sure. With the old band, we used to play it early in the set, but now with Scatterbrain, we always close out with it.
What were your first experiences on stage like, and how have they changed over time?
GKM: Our first show, we played with Christmas Tree on acoustic guitar and back-up vocals — long story — and our old rapper really did not enjoy performing live, so we never had the energy we have now. Touring really changed us as musicians though — helping us hone in on our chops and stage prescience.
What was the first concert you ever attended?
Young Dan: Ed Sheeran, duh.
The Hawaiian: Maui Annual Luau Fest 2003.
Mudd Dog: Listening to the cries of a dying moose in the woods, if that counts.
D-String: New York State of Mind, a Billy Joel Tribute Band fronted by the Marc Dallio.
Scatterbrain PG: Lil Boo Bear 2035. He doesn’t exist yet.
What piece of advice have you been given that you would like aspiring musicians to know, whether they’re starting a band or just learning an instrument?
GKM: If you’re starting a band, the best advice we have is get involved with all local scenes and support everyone who is a part of them. If you don’t support the scene, you don’t have a scene. Also, practice a lot, and then practice some more.
If you could trade places with a historical figure for one day, who would it be?
Young Dan: Ed Sheeran’s father, so I could raise Ed Sheeran.
The Hawaiian: King Kamehameha I, because reasons.
Mudd Dog: Definitely not the mail man. I hate that fucking guy.
D-String: Ron Jeremy, because he’s an athletic man.
Scatterbrain PG: Hilary Clinton. She really bounces back in 2032.
Hero image: © Green Knuckle Material
“Lullaby (Bad Cat Sessions)” video: © Bad Cat Records and Green Knuckle Material
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