The Square Egg: ‘Round Here

From the sound of the name, The Square Egg, sounds very contradictory to the ear. One may wonder why and how a group could come up with such an obscure name. Is it for the attention? It may be hard to put your finger on it, but it’s not as complex as one might think. […]

From the sound of the name, The Square Egg, sounds very contradictory to the ear. One may wonder why and how a group could come up with such an obscure name. Is it for the attention? It may be hard to put your finger on it, but it’s not as complex as one might think. The 10-piece band is a collective of sounds and musical genres that meld together in an experience that must be witnessed to be believed.

From their humble beginnings as a three-piece outfit playing in local Miami lounges, to journeying to the Big Apple and submerging themselves in a new atmosphere, all while picking up seven extra members – the band doesn’t take themselves too seriously. They have come together for sheer enjoyment of just jamming out and having a good time.

We recently hooked up with front man, Lee, to philosophize on the kindred spirits and find out what makes them tick. Alternatives: How did you come up with the name The Square Egg?

Lee: It’s from a book of drawings by Saki. I saw the main drawing, and it caught me in a way that characterized our music. It’s our own little unique egg; our own creation. It’s a way to visually give people a description of our sound.

AHHA: The band is originally from Miami, which has a diverse musical background. Why did you relocated to New York?

Lee: We’d been in Miami for a long time. I grew up there, so for me personally, I wanted to try a different environment. I looked at New York as a mecca. It’s just that place. Sinatra said that if you can make it here, then you can make it anywhere. As a big fan of music, there was more for me to embrace. I get a lot more opportunities to see more independent artists, and it makes you appreciate it more. There’s so much more around us to absorb.

AHHA: Was it as simple as, “Ok guys, I’m not really feeling Miami anymore?” It can’t be easy to move a 10-piece band at the drop of a hat.

Lee: Mike, our bass player, besides myself, is one of the only original members of the band that came from Miami. Even if I wasn’t doing music, I think that I would have come to New York. Making the transition was actually pretty easy. A lot of the other cats that play with us, we know from music school at the University of Miami. A lot of other people that we play with just dug what we were about. We enjoy music and what we do.

AHHA: Being such a large group, how do you all agree on an idea or concept?

Lee: I think that it starts with the foundation of what we’re trying to accomplish musically, and out respect for that as well as, each other as artists and creators. We don’t have any trouble getting the ideas together. We like each other’s people, and we respect each other’s creativity. It’s a lot of fun. It’s not like a Prince and the New Revolution thing, where all of the ideas are coming from one person. It’s a well oiled machine. We’re all on the same page, it’s a fun process. I know that it sounds cliché, but it’s true.

AHHA: What are you trying to do musically? People can listen to the album, but similar to a Parliament concert, a live show must be a real experience.

Lee: Shows are where I think a large part of what we do collectively as a unit comes out. The song writing portion is handled be a limited amount of us. I am a lyricist. I’m only going to handle the lyrics. When you take an opportunity to say, “What are we trying to do?” I think our take on it is being true to what we respect as possible. The definitive idea of not wanting to put ourselves in a particular box and say that we are a Hip-Hop band or a funk band or soul, or that I’m a spoken word artist or singer. I think that we just appreciate so many different elements of music that we want that to come across in our performances and what we do. There’s a freedom to that. You’ll come to a show and we’ll be doing our thing and we’ll transition from jazz, to Woody our guitar player, laying down some hard rifts. As musicians, you’ll find that most people that are really true to their craft; respect a lot of different genres.

AHHA: You have a lot of special appearances on the album. How did you manage to hook up with so many people?

Lee: These are people that have their own things going, and we’ve crossed paths over the years. To get people, there was just a phone call away. They would come by, we’d spend some time writing together and boom, it was done. That’s just the organic make up of people just digging music. It’s not complicated if you love what you are doing and the people that you’re with.

AHHA: How does playing in a larger metropolitan area compare to Miami?

Lee: Well, there’s definitely a large audience base. That’s always been the benefit of New York or L.A. They are both known for their music and cultural scenes. Miami is still coming up. It’s still developing and hasn’t established itself yet as a musical place. Now it’s starting to get stuff like Pit[bull] and Rick Ross, but it’s a slow crawl. It’s not like how when you’re in New York, you think of CBGB’s or the neo-soul scene. There’s a whole lot going on and there’s greater access to venues.

AHHA: The album, Quite Possibly The Best of The Square Egg, is an interesting title. What’s your take on it?

Lee: We just call it funny. [laughs] No, it was just beyond the obvious. A collection of songs that we felt would give a good introduction to who we are as a band. It’s kind of a tongue-in-cheek thing, in as much as it’s a band that people haven’t really heard of. They might say, ‘Who are they to put out a “best of” album?” It’s a way of not taking ourselves too seriously with our music, but again, it’s an introduction to what we’re about as a band. We just ask for people to listen without prejudice and embrace it.