Modern Day Fitzgerald are an amazingly talented and hard-working band who describe themselves as "gentlemen who perform music with proper etiquette." If by proper etiquette they mean energetic live performances, an inspiring work ethic, great videos and a sound that encompasses everything from The Beach Boys to The White Stripes, they are spot-on. Led by guitarist, songwriter and vocalist Mica-Elgin Vi, the band are currently plotting various music, video and advocacy projects. We catch up with Mica-Elgin about these and other topics in this exclusive interview.
Please introduce yourselves. Describe your music for new listeners.
My name is Mica-Elgin Vi, and I am the lead singer, Lead guitar player and songwriter in the group. We are gentleman who perform music with proper etiquette. Our sound is a mixture of beach rock from the late 50s and early 60s, with a sophisticated approach to jazzy blues chord progressions and true lyrical content. We are a combination of the Beach Boys and The Ronettes mixed in with Weezer and The White Stripes.
Looking back on the band’s accomplishments this past year, what are you most proud of?
On the music front, My band and I went back to South By Southwest and performed at a showcase over there. We also opened up for one of my favorite bands while I was growing up, The Romantics. It was just insane that they took the time to talk to us and even listen our music. Talked to Mike their guitar player and he said that we are on the right path, just keep working and keep going. Lastly we released one of newest singles "Where Did You Go". Available everywhere.
I made a new year resolution to myself at the beginning of the year. I wanted to build value on others and share them to others. So I decided to make more videos online to help promote my music scene. Showing off different musicians by making review videos, interview videos, vlogs; just doing anything I can to put a spotlight on other musicians.
How does songwriting work in the band? Who brings what to the table?
I personally do the songwriting in the band. Most of my songs are autobiographical based on situations I have been in, relationships, and even uncertainty about the future.
It is either I write the songs in my bedroom at 3 AM or the band and I jam out a song during rehearsals. Then we jam out, I grab a line from my song journal and make a song on the spot. Now when it comes to the bass, piano or drum parts, I give freedom to my band mates. They have free reign on what they think the song should sound like. It is a collaboration between all of us. The main objective is how we do make a listenable song, get the people going and make sure they are not bored after the first ten seconds.
It’s obvious that MDF takes video-making seriously and that you enjoy the storytelling aspect of videos. Talk about how you see the intersection between music and video in 2018.
I appreciate you noticing. Long story short, musicians posting music is not enough for this day of age. After a musician writes an album and releases it, I would probably listen to the album for a full week and listen something else afterwards. In this day of technology, there needs to be more engagement with the audience, not only with music but with video and even podcasts. What I do is document myself with vlogs and Facebook live to let people know that I am still working on music and still creating. I also want my audience to know the MDF lifestyle and culture. I want to share the music scene here in Kansas City. I want my audience to know that there is a whole world of music that needs to be discovered. Now when it comes to engaging with my audience, they can also let me know who else to check out. In result, they now know who I am and can better understand my music and know where I am coming from.
What’s ahead for Modern Day Fitzgerald in 2019?
A lot of awesome things is going to happen. Releasing some new music later next year. I am also going to be doing some new series on my YouTube channel and share other musicians new music, different restaurants, or even cocktail bars. I am also planning on doing a series that may benefit other starting musicians and share how to get started. There are some other things, but some things are still confidential and top secret. Just keep a look out on our Facebook page, Instagram and YouTube for new things to come.
Modern Day Fitzgerald's recommendations from the Johnson County Library catalog.
The Great Gatsby and This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
There is no doubt that I am a big fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald. During high school and college, I can relate to some of his characters; just the fact of being a hopeless romantic also my biggest flaw of looking towards to the past. He also does a great job painting a picture in the story. I could go in so much detail, but I probably would write a novel on why Fitzgerald is great and how much of his writings influence me.
The Sun Also Rises and A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Another great writer. Everything he writes is true and only true. He does not use big words or cute flowery words to get his point across. He is very minimal and straight to the point, [especially when discussing] his travels and how it can change a human being.
Beastie Boys Book by Beastie Boys
Just got done reading this. It's like 90 something chapters but talks about the struggle of starting out in the music scene in New York and the beginnings of hip hop.
A Creative Quest by Questlove
Lastly, Creative Quest is a great book when talking about being creative. Questlove dives deep in about how to be creative and how to be inspired. Also he talks about his personal stories on his creative endeavors. If you personally have writer's block or want to be inspired, read this book!