Simple Minded Predators

Simple Minded Predators are (L to R) Rebekah Durham (fiddle, vocals), Miles Pittman (banjo, vocals), Bo DePena (guitar, vocals)

Simple Minded Predators are a group of players that are living in Brooklyn, though they are all originally from the South–Miles Pittman and Bo DePena are both singer/songwriters that met and jammed together and decided to add another when they met Rebekah Durham, a classically-trained violinist at a party, and as luck would have it, she also played really good fiddle music, and the group was born.

The group is still very much in its beginning stages, but please watch out for them and check out the music they do have available, it is really hot if you want to hear some great bluegrass and folk music. A clip from one of their gigs at Pete’s Candy Store that they recorded back in August (embedded on the bottom) is proof of this.
They are in the process of writing and recording their first CD.
The band had a few minutes to spare to speak with me via Skype

CM: How did the group get together?

Miles: I lived at 146 Av, right on Park Slope, and I started picking on my stoop one day, just a little country bluegrass guitar–I see Bo, my neighbor at 138 walking up with a guitar on his back, and he sort of turned around and said “That sounds good! We should get together and play!” and scurried off! After a few times of doing that, I said “if you got a guitar on your back and walking out, you should just sit down and play a couple of songs!”, so he did, we started playing, then hanging out, played a few open mikes and had fun, then Bo and I became friends, and we were invited to a party. And at that party–Bo’s really good when he introduces people, he’s like “Hey Chris, this is Miles, he’s a really good singer-songwriter”, so he introduced me to someone like that, and she says “Oh, you play music? You should definitely talk to that girl!”, and points directly to Rebekah! Yeah, she was into folk music and country music, and I went up and talked to Rebekah. We exchanged cards, and planned a date, had a little jam session, and then Bo kind of looks at us and says “Hey, we’re all in a band, right?” [all laugh]

Bo: It was kind of one of those when we were like “Wait, so this is it, right? This is what we’re going to be doing for a while?”
And Miles is really good at opening up to anybody. We’ll be sitting on a stoop, and he wants to call out anyone that walks by with an instrument. Almost to the point where it’s too much, when we’re like “Put a filter on it!”. But that was the great thing about it was that he just walked right up to Rebekah and he had no fear or shame in asking her to play. I had known Rebekah a couple of times before from seeing her at shows, and I’m always a little more weary about meeting people. Miles is not shy at all! He just reached out to Rebekah, and once he said it, it was like “It’s gonna happen!”. We went down and rehearsed at Miles’ brownstone in Park Slope.

CM: (to Rebekah) Were you playing fiddle music very long before this band?

Rebekah: I was playing with different bands and singer-songwriters around town, and I actually had the intention of shopping around for people that I really wanted to play with and get along with, and finally, that happened! I kind of felt that magic when I met Miles at that party, and I was like “Yeah! I’m gonna follow through on this!”

Sally Goodin (Live at Tea Lounge; 1/12/2013)

CM: When it’s time to make the album, it’s going to have mostly originals?

Bo: Definitely!

Rebekah: Yeah, it probably be all original!

Bo: Yeah, we’re hoping it’ll be all originals. A majority of the fiddle tunes we play now are originals. We’re still in the foetus stage, but really, the great thing is we have 3 people that write music and are very different from each other. Rebekah’s really good at writing fiddle tunes and makes those come to light. Miles is definitely the more intense of the songwriters–He’s just got that kind of energy, and when I write music, I try to at least make it somewhat upbeat…

Rebekah: And he brings a blues element…

Bo: Yeah, somewhat of a blues element, which we’re going to start hopefully doing more of because we just jammed around on a blues tune last night that Miles kind of actually brought to life with his banjo playing. The hope is that by album time, it’s going to be all originals.

CM: I would imagine that it would hard for you guys to add a 4th member to this group, you probably don’t want to screw up the chemistry here.

Bo: That’s definitely a worry, but at least in the back of mind, we’ve talked about adding a bass or a mandolin.

Miles: Let’s face it, the world loves threesomes! [all laughing]

Bo: Or trios!

Miles: We’re all for experimentation and maybe playing with more people, but for the most part, we are kind of guarded in a certain sense I guess because all 3 of us are still trying to figure out each other’s language, like really communicating musically, personally. all that gooey human stuff we have to do between each other.

CM: I know, that’s a good description of it too, because sometimes the human stuff is very gooey indeed!

Miles: Yeah, it can strangle you, you know? Even threesomes get really gooey! You can’t fix that!

Simple Minded Predators (Facebook page)


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