Medici: Good times

by Hillary Susz

The original members of Medici – Casey Proctor, front woman and main songwriter, Shawn Wyman, drummer and band manager, and Jeremey Hunter, bass guitarist – and I all sat down at the Red Light Bar to talk about their new EP, Red Eye, released Oct. 1.

“We’ve all known each other for a long time. I’ve known him for almost 20 years,” Jeremy said pointing at Shawn.

“12,” Shawn corrected.

Jeremy snorted, “But he remembers the day he met me!” Everyone laughed. Jeremy was good at getting us all to laugh.

Under the table, Casey and Shawn, recent newlyweds, were holding hands.  As a joke, Jeremy intermittently went to grab Shawn’s hand, and Shawn swatted it away. Their playfulness escalated to the two boys nonchalantly rubbing each other’s chests while keeping eye contact with me and casually talking about their band.

The three of them met while performing in local metal bands Kowalski, Within Negatives and Choker during the mid 90s. When Jeremy was a teenager, he was in a motorcycle accident that paralyzed him from the waist down. Before the accident, he played drums for Kowalski. “I’m not very good at foot pedals,” Jeremy joked.

Medici formed in 2010. Although the band clearly has metal roots, they are not a metal band. Their first record, Arbor and Acer, is primarily acoustic; think Tori Amos meets Tool. Casey described the sound as “pop music,” Jeremy described it as “progressive rock,” and Shawn described it as “a collaborative effort incorporating metal, progressive rock, psychedelic stoner, jam and southern rock.” Shawn’s explanation was in reference to the band’s new sound, which will be featured on Red Eye.

With the new EP, Medici is taking on a broader, more ambitious approach. They recently added two new members – guitarist Jason Buck and percussionist, Tyler Newberg – to encompass a more modern and dynamic approach. And this ambition isn’t just limited to their sound. Medici is incorporating visual and theatrical elements into their live shows as well.

“The aspect we’re trying to bring back, in general, is good song writing, and a different approach to the way we do our live shows visually and musically,”  Shawn noted.

Jeremy agreed. “To me, we just wanted to bring great writers into the band. I wondered, ‘How do we take every amazing musician we see and bring them into one band—an experience with the whole package?’ When I go to show in Bellingham, I don’t see that.”

Casey neatly summed up, “It’s kind of selfish, but we wanted to create a band that we would want to see.”

What is their music really about? Both Shawn and Jeremy pointed at Casey for this one. Medici is her brain child.

She explained, “I took classical piano lessons till I was 17 and at that point they were telling me that I had to play certain songs. I had to perform a certain way.” To explain with her body, she straightened out her spine and wore a deranged Chucky doll face. “I quit after that, despite my parents being very disappointed.”

Eight years later Casey picked up the bass guitar and cranked the fuzz. She spent half a decade in math rock metal bands. The nihilistic, anti-establishment nature of the genre relieved her from the constraints and expectations of classical music.  However, as a long haired, bright eyed, young woman, Casey found herself subject to other, offensive expectations.

“I’ve definitely worked with men in the industry who have sexualized me, as if that was a primary thing rather than me being a legitimate musician. Medici is where I can actually say, fuck you.”

LIVE SHOW: For more about the band, see http://medici.bandcamp.com/ or facebook.com/yourmedici.

Published in the October 2014 issue of What’s Up! Magazine