Try to imagine planet Earth thousands of years from now, stuck in a post-apocalyptic time where musical sound is an unreachable prospect. An all-encompassing government rules, and it possesses technology that allows it to be in full control. Though the human race still exists, it’s being reprogrammed into androids, void of decision making or joy. But organic sound and counter resistance exists within a single band, one that fights robotic acceptance with buzzing frequencies and mind-saving guitar riffs.
“Basically, it’s a band that’s so good that they take over the world, like in the apocalypse or something,” vocalist and rapper Justin Hammonds said, “and they play this epic show, and then they just disappear into space, into this great existence.”
Now, back to reality.
It’s a Saturday night in Tuscaloosa, around 1 a.m. The string of little light bulbs and beer can-lined walls of Tuscaloosa’s Green Bar rattled as the Organic Androids jounced its music-savvy bar and fans. Hammonds puts on a passionate show for even the small crowd, with a wild stream of break dances that gets the crowd moving.
Fans, meet the Organic Androids.
They are a band grooving both as a post-apocalyptic cyborg awakener in a to-be novelette series and as a 2014 electric rock, hip-hop tinged opener for bands such as Mother Funk and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. On Saturday, September 14, the Organic Androids road-tripped from their newest home location of Nashville, Tenn., to play a night at downtown Tuscaloosa, where they rocked everything from covers of Portugal the Man to a mashup of Pretty Lights to some catchy Outkast, in addition to featuring some of their earlier released songs available on iTunes.
The young Tuscaloosa-originated band began by playing covers at bars in Alabama for a about a year, then officially became the Organic Androids for the last two and a half years. The band currently consists of six members and one artist: Guitarist and lead vocalist Jeremy Moulder, lead vocalist Justin Hammonds, keyboardist John McNair, bassist Drew Shelnut, lead guitarist Gaines Cooper, drummer Grant Bramlett and Artistic Director Tyler Key.
“Essentially, very loosely, we’re a concept band, and we say graphic novel is the genre. And so it’s going to be this continuing story of the Organic Androids. The music isn’t going to be directly tied to the graphic novel, but we are going to have that continuing on, so that it gives people something else to have,” said Bramlett.
John Williamson, a local Tuscaloosa graphic artist nicknamed “Squash,” sparked “a creative world for the band,” as Hammonds said, when they discovered his graphic novel called “Organic Androids” several years ago. The novel features a futuristic band that alters a crowd’s mins before the band’s boggling performance, then as the crowd begins to awaken, the band disappears into space. But it leaves a legacy, one Hammonds compares to “Daft Punk.”
“Basically one day I went up to this guy [Williamson] to ask him if we could use the band name, and he looked me in the face and said, ‘If you’re going to be serious about Organic Androids, you can have it,’ and I said, ‘Sir, we’re more than serious.’ That was three years ago,” Hammonds laughed. “Now we’re trying to progress even more.”
Although the plot line in the novelette of “Organic Androids” is not the same story as the band, they took specific inspiration from Williamson’s idea of a mass human awakening. Currently the band is working with Key and writers at Vanderbilt to storyboard and develop a graphic novel to artistically aid the band. Their version of the Organic Androids, different from Williamson’s novelette, will feature a band struggling to thrive in a futuristic world where creativity is forbidden by the government.
It will highlight their fight to rouse feeling in human androids that have been programmed robotically. Three separate mini novelettes featuring the Organic Androids will be released, probably one per album. The three together will then be put together to represent the band’s first full novelette.
“We become on the run, we go through crashes, we’re slowly being replaced with robotic parts, but we’re still playing, as more and more [human] parts are taken, making us more like androids,” Key said. “But when we play shows, we have this realization—we are more than what’s happening.”
With only an EP on iTunes and no current graphic novels released, what does the band want its daily rising fan base to know?
“Stay tuned,” the band said, grinning.
The Organic Android members explained that their inspiration comes from a variety artists, from Pink Floyd to the Roots to Gorillaz, and their eccentric music ranges in genres all over the grid. They take bluesy, head-nodding pop, transforming different songs into fast-changing, funky beats, most verging with a psychedelic edge. Ultimately the technical music taste distinction between each band member—most graduated with musical majors, as well as Molder with a degree in sound audio engineering—generates a totally new and unique sound in the current music scene.
“We just had everyone [in the band] put their on spin on things, and the distinct sound we have now didn’t come till a year and a half of practicing,” Bramlett said.
During the Green Bar show, they premiered only two sneak peak songs, called Robotiks and Belly of the Beast, that will be on their upcoming album. The band members are more than excited to start recording the band’s first album in about month.
“Having different tastes and talents, that’s one of the things that really makes this band unique. We all listen to hip hop, jam band music, and some of us listen to metal, while some of us listen to jazz and classical…It’s really all over the board,” said Moulder.
With the projected recording finish date for around December, their current plan is to have the album released in the beginning months of 2015, along with their first small novelette featuring the robot-battling adventure of the Organic Androids band members.
“Stay tuned for the new CD—it’s going to be big. All of our stuff that’s on iTunes at this point, it’s two years old. It’s a totally different sound,” Moulder said. “So in the future when someone sees our name and gets interested enough to look online, they’ll see us, not this old version of us.”
Although making it big as a band is a long shot, Hammonds said by opening for so many bands with a following similar to their unique style, they’ve got their feet wet in gaining fans and learning to play and market their music professionally, and that “now they’re going to try to swim and stay afloat” with the new album.
All the while during their shows, their Artist Director Tyler Key, also a marketing and music graduate from the University of Alabama, used shades of chalk to paint a live scene while the band performed, as he does for almost every concert.
“I found the idea of a band being painted so powerful because it captures how they’re seen by the crowd, but also it captures the particular environment of the concert and how the band can change over time. It was super cool for the artist to let me witness this small moment be turned into something permanent,” Dylan McCaghren, a senior majoring in marketing and spanish at the University of Alabama said after attending the Green Bar show.
After four to five times of doing live performance art for the Organic Androids, they asked Key to be considered part of band as full-time Artistic Director, and to do live art for every show. He is also currently in the process of working on the story boards for the novelette series. He posts and tags every art piece on Organic Androids Instagram and website for marketing, as well as sometimes selling the art after the show to fans, like he did at the Green Bar that Saturday.
“It’s kind of nerve-racking at first, especially in Tuscaloosa, theres not a huge live appreciation of art,” Key said. “Mostly though, I had a really good reception from people, even at bars.”
Look for the Organic Androids at the 20th anniversary of the BayFest festival in Mobile, Alabama, scheduled to play on October 4. Otherwise keep an ear out for the release of their new album and the first act of their novelette series.
“Everyone’s trying to make music their life,” said Hammonds. “It’s so easy to lose your focus in one thing of life, but you have to have someone or have something to awaken you, to keep your focus there—that’s what this band is about.”
Remember fans, stay tuned.

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