The guitar rings out in high energetic passion. The kind of passion that will make your soul shake as Jon Orth’s kick drum begins its beat. Then Latin Heart Throb Ruben Gomez Kane takes the stage with devoted excitement which will leave the crowd in a frenzy. The guitar strings exploding off stage from John Crisci will leave you blinded by melodies, and notes that won’t be easy to forget. Then as soon as you gain your sight back it will feel as if your heart beats right along with every song they grace you with. The keys contributed by John Seput, and The Bass Line conceived by Jerri Capri, will put you in a state of pure ecstasy that you may not be able to come down from. Be sure to check out what they had to say during our interview.
When did you start performing music?
John Seput: I started playing music in grade school. I’m a multi-instrumentalist, my primary is clarinet. I went to The Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Program from 7th grade until I graduated high school. I Was first chair orchestra etc. In college I studied music business and audio engineering.
John Crisci: At the age of 9 I entered a talent show and won first prize playing Dueling Banjo’s on guitar, both parts.
Jon Orth: 1973.
Jerri Capri: In the 8th grade.
Ruben Gomez Kane: I would have to say I started performing music when I was as a kid. I would sing songs in a couple of different bars here in the city. In Queens. Imitating Michael Jackson, and Elvis Presley. As a solo-artist. That’s how I got started. I started even younger than that because my dad was a radio DJ, and he would play allot of music. I would sing along and would say it was probably between the age of 4 or 5 when I was doing that.
Which instruments do you play?
John Seput: I play the Winds. (Clarinet, Sax, & the Flute.) I also play the keys, some guitar, and the bass.
John Crisci: Guitar mostly with Kings Harem but I can also play piano, bass, drums, viola, and mandolin. I have vocals too, if you consider that an instrument.
Jon Orth: I only play the drums.
Jerri Capri: I play the guitar and Bass.
Ruben Gomez Kane: I play very little acoustic guitar. I did start taking classical guitar as a young kid in New York City. I was also an actor, and that took away from any classes that I could have been taking. That’s where I lost complete touch with playing the acoustic guitar.
Describe your music interests and abilities.
John Seput: My music interests vary since I’m a trained classical musician. Although, I will listen to and enjoy anything. I tend to lean towards the heavier genres. In the past I taught Music Technology at both the high school and on college levels. I have my project studio and have done sound design and music composition for games, industrial, and some film. I have produced and engineered for a couple of bands here on the west coast.
“I’M VERY MUCH A TECH-HEAD/GEAR-SLUT.”
John Crisci: I love all music from Mozart to Metallica. I was raised with music, and was always playing. My parents would play Frank Sinatra, and my brother would play the Rolling Stones. So at an early age of 5, or 6, I was playing air guitar to the Beatles. By age 8, I was taking lessons and by age 9, I was playing songs. By the age of 16, I was teaching and playing in a cover band. They had to sneak me into the clubs because I was under the legal age. Later I entered college and achieved a BA in Music. Although, it took 6 years to do it. I went 3 years full time then balanced the night time scheduling gigs and participating in studio sessions. All the while I was continuing school part time. It was important to my family and I to finish college. So I would say my abilities are above average with music. Like anything, if you put enough time into it you’ll be good at it.
Jon Orth: As far as music styles I’m interested in, that would range from big band swing, the Rat Pack era song, 70’s Progressive rock, and 80’s metal, to today’s country artists. There’s something in every one of these styles that grabs my interest.
Jerri Capri: Jazz, Blues, and Rock!
Ruben Gomez Kane: I love to be able to sing ballads, pop, and pop rock. Even country! I like all styles of music.
Which famous musicians inspire you?
John Seput: Chick Corea, Dimebag Darrel Abbott, Trent Reznor, Rob Zombie, Gustav Mahler, Bach, Mozart, Crystal Method, Infected Mushroom, Skrillex, Metallica, and the list goes on.
John Crisci: Well there are so many because I did not limit myself. I was always up for the challenge of creativity. So to rattle off a few names, Elvis, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Steve Howe, Allen Holdsworth, Chuck Berry, Mozart, Count Basie, Paul McCartney, Glenn Miller and of course Frank Sinatra.
Jon Orth: Any big band swing drummer. To name a few it would be Steve Smith formally of the well known band Journey, John Bonham, and Neil Peart.
Jerri Capri: Ace Frehley of Kiss, Aerosmith, Nugent, Jovi, and Rush.
Ruben Gomez Kane: I like singing all styles because one of my favorite artists is Elvis Presley. As I was a kid growing up I noticed that he sang every genre. He sang from country, to soul, to pop, to ballads, to pop rock, I mean he did it all. Even gospel. I thought that he was very interesting and I thought that he was truly a complete artist. Other artists that inspire me would be Jim Morrison of the doors. Jimmi Hendrix, Alice In Chains, Neil Sadaka, Paul Anka. I mean I am all over the place when it comes to musicians and people who inspire me.
What are some of your best musical memories?
John Seput: Playing 2nd chair clarinet with my teacher for the Aldelphi Orchestra. Any gig I have had with Kings Harem was always a blast, and a great show. Another one for the memory books would be when I released my first independent project – Division Six.
John Crisci: It would definitely be when I joined minstrels’ show in school and camp. Being in a church choir. Winning my first talent show. Playing DJ, and recording with my brother while listening to WABC. All to be topped off with Getting a Gold Album for the work contributions to Trixter’s first record.
Jon Orth: That would be playing a gig with B.B King off to the side of the stage and having him tip his hat to me while I was playing. Meeting Steve Smith, he is by far one of the most humble and warmest individuals I have ever met.
Jerri Capri: Kiss summer of 79’ at Madison Square Garden. My dad took my friends and I in the neighborhood. That in itself was ultimately a thrill of a lifetime.
Ruben Gomez Kane: Being in Oliver on Broadway which was an incredible experience. I got to meet Mark Hamill who was Luke Skywalker from the Star Wars trilogy. I got to meet Michael Jackson who was also at the show. I was at the Statue of Liberties Opening Ceremonies where I got to meet Frank Sinatra. Another great memory was at Live Aid/Farm Aid in Philadelphia where we sang We Are The World. I was actually on stage with all the people who sang that song. I was on the stage with Mick Jagger, Cher, Prince, and tons of Actors/Actresses. I was actually in 2 songs, we had We Are The World, and then they came up with a song called Children To Children. I was also in the group of kids who performed that song for the show. That was an incredible experience. To be on the stage with all those artists was mind blowing. Touring with Menudo from 1987 to 1991 was also allot of fun. It was truly an awesome experience! Another was opening up for Eros Ramazzotti who is an Italian pop singer. I opened up for 2 or 3 shows for him in Germany. Also Kings Harem at the China Club. Hello! You can’t forget that!
“THAT IS SOME ROCK AND ROLL STUFF!”
What public events do you have coming up?
John Seput: Check out our live broadcast of our first on air interview at DigitalRevolutionRadio.
John Crisci: The band has a live on air interview coming up in August with DigitalRevolutionRadio. We may debut another song off our coming album if its ready. In the mean-time we’ve decided to concentrate on finishing the album rather then performing.
Jon Orth: Right now just working on new King’s Harem material, and the occasional sub gig.
Jerri Capri: What John Crisci said. \m/!\m/
Ruben Gomez Kane: We are definitely going to be working on new material this year. Also as John Seput has previously mentioned, make sure you Check out our live broadcast of our first on air interview at DigitalRevolutionRadio.
What would you say to beginners in the industry who are just starting out?
John Seput: Just work through it , the more you play and practice the more confident you will be.
John Crisci: Well, it’s OK to be nervous. We all are. Just use it to your advantage. Maybe it’s your inner self telling you to rehearse more but at some point the confidence in yourself takes over and pushes you to succeed.
“I CAN DO THIS!”
Jon Orth: When in an audition, always go prepared, play from the heart, and always play every note with confidence.
Jerri Capri: Just be yourself and let the music do the talking.
Ruben Gomez Kane: Nerves are merely a feeling, and it will pass. Just practice as often as you can, and you will put on a great show.
How do you balance your music with your family and friends?
John Seput: My day job is pretty time intensive. I try to get in the studio on the weekends as much as I can.
John Crisci: Good question! I have eaten, drank and slept music for most of my life. I do my best work in isolation. It took a toll on me in my early years. I lost relationships and missed out on youthful sports activities. Spent countless studio hours in sessions I can’t even remember. However, music never let me down, it’s like medicine for my soul. As I got older I realized that the people around me matter. They make me who I am too, not just the music. This revelation opened up new experiences of inspiration and joy. My life and music is more in balance now. I make time for other things now; taking nature hikes is one of them. Good for the mind, body & soul.
Jon Orth: The answer is in the question. Just balance. Everyone needs or wants attention. You as an individual, need to understand where your energy is best served.
Jerri Capri: With thoughtful scheduling.
Ruben Gomez Kane: That is very hard to do. I do allot of traveling and have friends all over the world. Usually it’s my music that will bring me to my friends. That’s a good thing! I get to see friends that I haven’t seen in years when I travel to Mexico, and Venezuela, as I do these shows. I get to visit my friends much more while touring. As for my family, it’s a little bit harder. I have allot of family in Puerto Rico. I have a bunch of half brothers and sisters in Florida. Whenever I get to Florida I get the chance to visit them. It’s tough juggling it I have to admit. Sometimes family and friends in different parts of the world get a little upset or saddened that I’m not in contact as often as I should, but I do my best.
Should we be expecting anything new?
John Seput: For King’s Harem I expect we will be releasing new tracks soon. I have completed the keyboard parts and I know the rest of the group is working on theirs. I have also released my solo stuff and have some of the Division Six tracks at http://www.reverbnation.com/synthtek
I will soon be releasing some new MDK tracks with Sunserpent Records.
John Crisci: Oh Yes. We are working on our debut album. It was scheduled to be out for the summer but it’s looking more like a fall release date. We’re doing it ourselves so that tends to slow things down a bit as opposed to a record company pushing you here and there. Ruben is also recording some songs in Spanish for our Latin markets.
Jon Orth: Just staying focused, and working on new material for our upcoming release. No time line available at this time.
Jerri Capri: Be on the lookout in Late Summer – Fall – for The Kings Harem Album to be released.
Ruben Gomez Kane: In terms of a release, we’ll be releasing a song called Lost Without You which is a rock ballad. Hopefully we’ll be recording some of these songs in Spanish as well. Which songs? We’re not sure quite yet. We would like to take it one song at a time. I think it’s more important to work on a song and promote it now a day’s. Obviously after we’ve released several song’s we will then put them all together on an album, so be looking out for that.
Where might we follow your career?
Unfortunately I have never gravitated towards the social media thing. Although I’ve been told you can check out some really cool stuff over at;
“Those three sites will carry announcements as well as our Fan Clubs, radio stations, and magazines like yours!”
Ruben Gomez Kane:
Do you get nervous before a performance?
John Seput: I do!!!
“THE ENERGY HELPS TO MAKE A GREAT PERFORMANCE!”
John Crisci: Yes! It’s mostly if the equipment is going to malfunction. Not so much about the music. I get briefed on any irregularities from our crew chief and make time for a good sound check. I enjoy playing with Kings Harem very much. We make fun songs to play. We have a ball every single time. I use that joy to overcome any insecurity issues.
Jon Orth: Not really, I strive to hit the stage prepared. Although, there are those times when I get called in for a last minute gig where I didn’t have the time to review all the material.
Jerri Capri: Yes.
Ruben Gomez Kane: I certainly do! I get nervous. I get nervous all the time. I personally hate and dread midnight shows because of the whole day just waiting for that moment to get up on stage. I’ve always gotten nervous before a performance. It’s kind of like butterflies in your stomach. The odd thing is that once it’s time for the performance and we get up on stage that all diminishes instantly, and the nerves are just done. I always think to myself of why I get nervous because as soon as I start it’s over. Yea I get a little nervous for remembering lyrics, and hoping it’s a full crowd. I mean, what performer doesn’t like performing in front of a full crowd?
Is your family musical?
John Seput: My mother played some instruments, and my father is very technical.. I guess I get the best of both worlds from them.
John Crisci: Well, sort of. My roots come from Italy. My great grandfather’s brother was the first Violinist on the Paganini Orchestra. He co-wrote O’Solo Mio! Now that was a hit! Lol.. My Uncle’s would always sing Italian songs around family functions. It was fulfilled with music, wine, food and family. Mostly I owe my talents to the environment that I came from and my parents’ tolerance.
Jon Orth: It was really just my older brother. He was a guitarist. He was also my original influence, and my introduction to rock music in the early seventies.
Ruben Gomez Kane: My dad was a DJ. He was the number 1 Spanish DJ in New York City when he was working in the 80’s. He was the one who brought music to the house. I would have to say it’s because of him that music is so much a part of my life. If I hadn’t heard those songs at such a young age I don’t think I’d be able to follow a tune as well. Hearing those song’s playing constantly is probably what tapped my brain into a musical realm.
How do you handle your mistakes during a performance?
John Seput: Keep playing though them, don’t let them show.
John Crisci: Learn from them. In which case, was it because the monitors were too low and you couldn’t hear yourselves, or did a hot chick go bye? Lol! Stuff happens. Let it go and catch up to the beat. Go to the center to find your place. Don’t get mad, get better and enjoy. Most of the time nobody knows unless you motion something’s wrong. Just make sure you’re in tune with each other.
Jon Orth: Try to get out of it as gracefully as possible and hopefully land on one.
Jerri Capri: Just rock through your mistake like nothing ever happened.
Ruben Gomez Kane: I am a fan of what Jerri Capri said.
“JUST ROCK THROUGH YOUR MISTAKE LIKE NOTHING EVER HAPPENED.”
How does music affect the world around you?
John Seput: I get lost when listening to music. I can’t have it on while working or driving, I tend to lose focus. I get sucked in and I try to figure out how it was created, listening to all the elements that make the song, from the kick drum, to the sound, and to the vocals.
John Crisci: Together, music can bring me joy and sorrow. I’m emotionally connected to music. It’s been a part of my life more than most people I know. It’s like a faithful pet that has never died. When I take “my pet” for a walk, figuratively speaking, I turn my amps on and immediately feel the tug of the leash. Hey! Let’s go here, no here. Let’s cross the street, smell what’s over here! Sniff. Lol! The flip side is the business… Here, you must be careful. This is the trap. Walk the line cautiously. Don’t jump into anything you don’t like. The world around you won’t be the same.
Jon Orth: A good song will put me in a better mood or take me back to a different place and time.
Jerri Capri: Music is what brings people together from every race, religion, and country.
Ruben Gomez Kane: I started music very young because of my dad who was a radio DJ. As I previously stated I’d sing along and would say it was probably between the age of 4 or 5 when I was doing that.
“MUSIC IS MY WORLD.”
Describe your show visually and musically.
John Seput: For King’s Harem picture this,
“THERE’S MAYHEM ON STAGE, THE CURTAIN DROPS, AND LOT’S OF PYRO!”
John Crisci: This is the best part! To visually see Kings Harem is like watching the planets orbit in motion. Like clockwork, we feed off each other and keep the action going on every corner of the stage. Each of us is a superstar in our own right. Let’s start off with Ruben who has toured the world with “Menudo” since he was 6. Visually we like to bring props and stage scenery too. We carry a curtain drop with us that is very cool to open up with. It allows us to work behind the scene, and enter without being seen until the showtime drop. We have a licensed pyrotechnic system, and when it’s allowed, creates an added accent on occasions. And fog.. We love the drifting Zen effect of a faint cloudy stage! Musically, we always strive for perfection. Simply reproducing what the people have heard. We execute skillfully and with a unique force of showmanship.
Jon Orth: I would say visually it’s a high energy show, like that of an arena band. Musically it will run the spectrum of lighthearted, fun, up-tempo pop tunes to a darker more melancholy style of song.
Jerri Capri: In just one word, AWESOME!!!
Ruben Gomez Kane: A Kings Harem show is a very in your face Rock n Roll Spectacular. Firework’s, headbanging, and I would have to say, “visually stimulating.” Yes! Jerri’s a wild man on the bass. Crisci’s rocking it! It really is a spectacular!
About Johnny Naylor:
Johnny Naylor is the founder and owner of 1st Shot Music and a feature writer for Jammerzine. His work can also be found on 1st Shot Music and Naylor’s Notes. You can also get his latest updates on his facebook page.
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