The incredible thing about spending an evening with the Portland-based quartet Acoustic Minds is that you can walk away feeling like you’ve known them your whole life, yet still have no idea what you’ve witnessed. As a group, they are gregarious. They break out into song often and casually. Self-professed night owls, it’s easy to imagine joining them with drinks in hand, both bowling over in laughter and deep in conversation until the wee hours. In our short time together, we were privy to harmless practical jokes and serious talks about the state of our nation and its lack of unity. But it’s music the fuels the four individuals together. Twins Jenni and Amanda Price, along with Josh Lorenzen and Aaron Altemose are shaking things up and are helping to redefine what electronic dance music means today.
It has taken the band nearly five years to overcome invisible barriers that prevented the group from truly collaborating and finding their common vision. Now, they are working on re-branding, moving away from the contemporary R&B sound they once were into a genre of electronic dance music that’s so varied and unique, we were hard-pressed to find more than a few other groups that were even close to Acoustic Minds.“Genres are so easy to play around with,” says Josh. “Sometimes I get caught up on that EDM thing. My mind wants to go directly to raves and DJs, which sometimes we kind of mimic, but we really aren’t like that. Although when it comes down to it, yes, we are electronic dance music.”
So far, Acoustic Minds hasn’t played at large EDM festivals like Paradiso or Mysteryland. Instead, they’ve pushed their way into the other festival circuit with events like Bite of Oregon and the Waterfront Blues Festival. This weekend, they’ll be at the Rose Festival performing their newest EDM-blended sound they call soulWOMP.
“What’s really cool about us bringing in this different sound to these festivals is that it really opens their mind to the fact that it’s welcomed and that people are really enjoying that flavor” — Amanda.
They have also been confirmed for this year’s Oregon Country Fair, one of the few electronic dance music groups to ever play at the festival. “We’re kind of breaking barriers and building bridges to these other festivals when maybe they didn’t even know they wanted bass music,” Amanda continues. “It’s really exciting to be a part of that and showcase this new sound.”
Where Acoustic Minds goes from here is still yet to be determined, but the future is looking bright. Their high energy bass-filled sound mixed with a doo-wop-inspired visual performance is an easy sell for all ages. It’s only a matter of time before we stop trying to compare Acoustic Minds to the likes of Shiny Toy Guns, Little Dragon, or Tegan and Sara, and start defining them as the trendsetters they actually are.
A list of upcoming shows can be found on their website, www.acousticmindsmusic.com and on the Acoustic Minds Facebook page. Be sure to check out their next live show this Saturday, May 23rd at the Portland Rose Festival.
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