Filter the Noise | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Filter the Noise

Photo by Courtesy Filter the Noise

Most cities have their fair share of cover bands, treading familiar ground for the sake of fun and fanfare, and Jackson is no different. For local band Filter the Noise, covers are a way to set itself apart—making the format work for it and not against it.

"We play covers, but they're more like the B-sides, not necessarily the songs everyone else might think to play," vocalist and lead guitarist Chris Harben, 35, says. Filter the Noise's set includes a range of '90s and '00s rock songs, but the band tries not to limit itself to that genre. "We know what other people usually play, and we feed off of that. We want to be a little different and to play songs that we really like playing. We also want to play things you would know—the 'Oh yeah, I remember that' songs—instead of the ones you could hear at another venue down the street."

While cover songs have been the primary focus in recent months, Filter the Noise didn't set out to be a cover band.

"Chris and I do this full time," vocalist and rhythm guitarist Nicole Alexander, 33, says. "I quit my job in May to pursue music as a career. So yes, we sort of had to put a halt on writing music, but if I didn't have the money we make from gigging, then I wouldn't get to play music all day."

Filter the Noise plays regularly around Jackson and around the state, and in September, the band helped organize the Coosa Family Farm Festival in Carthage, Miss. In the midst of this schedule, Filter the Noise completed new acoustic demos—with just Alexander and Harben—and full-band demos including bassist Russell Hawkins, 37, and drummer Justin Thompson, 24. The recordings are available at their concerts and online, and they include both original work and cover songs.

Despite the fact that cover songs have opened doors in Jackson for Filter the Noise, the ultimate goal is to shift toward original music.

"Any band is going to want to tour and that kind of thing, so that's definitely on our minds—to get out and tour and get a record deal," Harben says. "The original songs are going to be the things that take us to that point. But in this town, you have to play covers. If we can be a band that does both and does both well, that's just one more thing that sets us apart."

Filter the Noise performs at 7 p.m. each Sunday at Hazel Coffee (2601 N. State St., 601-362-5223); 7 p.m. Oct. 22, and every other Tuesday, at Sal & Mookie's New York Pizza & Ice Cream Joint (565 Taylor St., 601-368-1919); 10 p.m. Nov. 8 with The Breton Sound at Ole Tavern on George Street (416 George St., 601-960-2700). The band will also be at Woofstock Music Festival Oct. 12 in Madison and BlocktoberFeast Oct. 19 in Jackson's Broadmeadow Neighborhood. Find Filter the Noise on Facebook and ReverbNation.

Check out all of JFP's 2013 Artists to Watch here.

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