WINDSOR, N.S. — Stroll down Gerrish Street on any given Friday night and Grace Spence's powerhouse vocals, backed by the driving sounds of the Feedback Monkeys, fill the air.
A founding member, Grace fronts the six-piece band that has been rocking out at Moe's Music School in downtown Windsor for about three years.
From perfecting the haunting melody of Zombie, to mastering the frenetic riff of Crazy Train, the band is starting to make in-roads in Hants County's music scene.
Ask any one of them when they first became interested in playing hard rock and they'll say “when I was little.”
That wasn't that long ago.
The Feedback Monkeys is comprised of youths aged 10 to 13 years. But you wouldn't know their age from hearing them perform, says Jake Smith, the owner of Moe's Music School and the band's manager, booking agent, and producer.
“I've been teaching music for about 20 years and I've never seen a group of kids come together and play so great as individuals and so great as a band. It's never happened before. It's been pretty inspiring to see how far they've come,” he said.
The Feedback Monkeys started out as a trio, featuring Smith, Grace and her brother, Ryan Spence, on guitar. As they learned popular songs, Luke Postma joined as their drummer.
Soon after, Aiden Postma, Luke's cousin, and Jordan Martin, Smith's niece, joined. As they began to perfect their sound, Aiden's little sister Anja started taking bass lessons.
“Her and I played bass a couple of times for some of the band practices and then I got kicked out of the band. She took over,” said Smith, with a chuckle.
“She was eight years old when she was doing that. That's pretty awesome.”
While Anja, now 10, is the primary songwriter for the group, they all have input and collaborate on developing their sound.
“We're so young. If someone heard our music without seeing us play, they'd probably think 'Oh they're probably in their 20s or something,'” said Grace. “And then they'd come and watch us and be like, 'That girl is like 10!'”
Anja is the youngest member. Ryan is 11, Luke is 12, and Jordan, Aiden and Grace are all 13.
Their first single, Lights Go Out, was recorded earlier this month and will be released soon. It was written over the summer — and Smith says the original rock song is impressive.
“I think that once the single comes out, people are going to be so surprised by how good it is. These are kids but they're not playing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. They're playing rock and roll and it sounds awesome and they're great at it,” said Smith, who once fronted the award-winning Fed Pennies — an independent Nova Scotian band that opened for Ozzy Osborne in 2008 when he came to Halifax.
Smith has revived the music label Manic In Music Records so that young musicians have a chance to get their music out to the masses.
“It's a record label under the school but it's an umbrella for all the Moe's Music School students to come and release their creativity and the record label will help do that,” said Smith.
Slicktherapper and Generation Idiot are both on the same label.
As the group matures, Smith said he sees a bright future.
The group, still stoked about their first single, is preparing to buckle down and write new songs, expand their repertoire and pick up more gigs.
Meet the Feedback Monkeys
Grace Spence – lead vocals
Jordan Martin – keys/vocals
Aiden Postma – guitar
Ryan Spence – guitar
Anja Postma – bass
Luke Postma – drums