For Brooklyn-based band Butcher Knives, blending and transcending musical genres is as easy as a walk in the park. Comprised of Nacho Segura (Colombia/vocals/percussionist), Nikko Matiz (Colombia/vocals/guitar), Melissa Elledge (New Orleans/accordion), Tal Galfsky (Israel/keyboards/sampler), Ethan Cohen (New York City/banjo/guitar/vocals), Yoni Benshlomo (Israel/bass/vocals) and Mohamed Amine Smires (Morocco/drums/vocals), this band’s eclectic, multicultural sound, which has been described as a dada-esque mixture of rock, folk, bluegrass, flamenco, and many other styles, has already garnered quite a bit of critical attention. Their recent debut album Misery showcased their unique array of talents while its two singles “American Dream” and “Tell Me Why” demonstrated their dedication to addressing real world issues. Recently, Butcher Knives’ lead singer, Nacho Segura, was gracious enough to answer some questions about the band’s musical influences, the music video for their song “American Dream” and their upcoming musical projects, Check it out below!
How would you describe your musical style?
The Butcher Knives’ sound is a multicultural, high-octane experience called gypsybilly. It is a mix of a lot of musical genres, all tied together by punk and gypsy guitars. Our sound is contagious and we are an unstoppable force.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
We have so many in influences but the idea of the band is to play all the styles of music we love. I grew up listening to reggae, SKA, and punk from Spain and France. We love bands like The Clash, Mano Negra, Joxe Ripau and a lot of world music especially Eastern European, bluegrass, and middle Eastern music.
Who is one artist that people would be surprised that you listen to?
I guess the most surprising artist on my playlist is Chris Isaak. (laughs).
Your debut album, “Misery,” was released a while ago. What are you most proud of in regard to that album?
The most important thing about our album is that we capture the essence of the band by creating a specific sound that combines the sounds of music from different parts of the world. The result is a musical collage we call the Gypsybilly sound.
What was it like filming the video for “American Dream”?
Filming the video for “American Dream” was a really good experience. We had a lot of fun with the talent sharing stories and eating pizza on set. The second day was an overnight shoot so it was a long night trying to stay awake while pretending to perform at full force at 5am which was very challenging. (laughs).
How did the creative vision for the video develop? Did you have a clear idea of what you wanted already in place before you started filming?
I directed and developed all the Butcher Knives’ music videos. I always wanted to do a music video with a documentary-style, testimonial kind of feel so when we decided to shoot the “American Dream” music video, I put all these ideas together. The main idea was to present real people—real immigrants—from different parts of the world telling their stories about why they came to America. We wanted to make a statement sending the message that we are immigrants, not the boogey man the media often portrays us as. We are artists, musicians, doctors and scientists contributing to this country.
Considering what’s going on in this country right now regarding immigration, does this video carry more weight for you?
Definitely. “American Dream” is a song with a very powerful message. As an immigrant to the United States, it was really important to me to talk about the painful incidents I’ve experienced firsthand as well as the many stories I’ve heard from others coming to this country. This is a country built by immigrants where we are told anything is possible but now that is an outdated, distorted vision of the American dream.
What message do you hope viewers take away from this video?
I think the most important thing is to clarify that immigrants have a lot to contribute to this country in every area from the food service and cleaning to the arts and science. No matter where we came from or what they do, we should not be treated as second-class citizens.
What’s next for you musically? Do you have a new album or video in the works?
We are working on new ideas for the next EP and possibly a new music video.
Besides music, what are you passionate about?
I’m a filmmaker so that’s my other great passion.
Butcher Knives debut album, Misery, is available on iTunes and through their website, http://www.butcherknivesmusic.com/, which also has links to their latest music videos and updates!