[Music] The Looney Bin | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

[Music] The Looney Bin

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Looney Mill hails from Birmingham, Ala., and is burning up the asphalt playing gigs across the South and attracting quite a following. The jam band, who will be at Martin's Friday June 30, is bursting at the seams with energy and enthusiasm with Dirk South (Bass, Vox), Quinn Collins (Drums, Percussion, Vox), John Hugunin (Guitar, Vox), Marcus Buckner (Guitar, Vox) and Kyndle Buckner (Vox). Their sound is deeply rooted in Southern rock, and you'll hear many influences entwined throughout their catchy melodies: funk, jazz, and that good ol' Southern twang.

I asked Dirk South a few questions to get to the heart of Looney Mill's sound and message—our own "musical conversation."

Your music really runs the gamut … jazz, Southern rock, some twang, funk. … Who does most of the songwriting?

I actually write all of the lyrics that I sing. Lyrics come from all aspects and all different feelings of what is going on right now, things we have done, places we have been … whether physically or mentally … and I try my best to put what I am thinking onto paper. The music, however, is usually an equal input format, meaning that everyone puts in as much as the other. We have fun writing songs, but honestly most of the song is developed while we are playing in front of people. If you watch us during the show, you will catch the head nod to each other meaning "Wow, that was cool; that is where I was going too." It's all about a musical conversation.

How did you guys get together to play?

Quinn, John and I have been playing for about two years together … mainly just to have something to do. We really got serious about playing when Marcus joined the band about eight months ago. Quinn and I have known each other for probably 15 years … and he has been the drummer in every band that I played bass in. John and Quinn met at work a few years back, and we all sat down one night with our acoustic guitars. John is probably one of the best guitarists I have played with. So we decided to start a band and see what we could do. We just gigged out and had a good time … [W]e met Marcus about eight months ago, and everything just meshed very well. Marcus is the part of the guitar that John is not, and vice versa.

How do you guys make your music a unique experience for your audience?

No song is ever the same. We are not the typical "verse, chorus, bridge" band. All of our songs are an experience, no matter if it is the first time you have heard it, or you have heard it 30 times. I think that is what keeps people interested, and that is the reason why a lot of pop bands are on the radio for a few years, and then you never hear of them again.

How was making your first recording?

It actually felt like we were at home because we had the producer/engineer bring his studio and set it up at our house. That way we could take our time and be more comfortable than being in a studio where time is everything, and you get nervous because you want to do everything on the first take. We were relaxed, and just hanging out while we recorded. We had to cut a lot of the song length out because we would start having musical conversations … some that would last 20 minutes or more. But we had all had recording experience with previous projects, so we knew what we wanted it to sound like. I think we did a good job, and so did our engineer, Johnny Chandler … who has run sound for Hank Williams, Wayne Newton, and many, many festivals around the country.

How's the album doing so far?

The album is doing very well. I mean, you always hope to sell all of your CDs immediately, but we have people order our CD all the time, even people that have just listened to what is on the Internet. We send out free live shows and stickers with every CD purchased from our Web site. What is even better is when you sell a CD, and then a week or two later get an e-mail: "Man I have had your CD in my CD player all week, we love it." I have had people tell me that they play it at parties and get great reactions. The Georgia football team is actually going to use a few of our songs during the radio broadcasts of the games in the fall!

Looney Mill's CDs are sold through their Web site and see them on Myspace.

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