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The Seratones Rock The Tiny Desk With A Jungle Beat

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Lots of young bands rehearse week after week in their parent's basements never to be discovered. Musicians play at weddings, open mic night. They audition for "American Idol" all in the hopes of someday making it big. NPR Music recently held a contest to give an undiscovered musical act a chance to play a Tiny Desk Concert. They got 7,000 submissions. And although there was just one winner, there was a whole lot of talent, including a group called Seratones.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

SERATONES: (Singing) You've got my hands along the wall. So I tend to find a...

MARTIN: They're a four-piece rock band based in Shreveport, Louisiana. Vocalist AJ Haynes and bassist Adam Davis join us from the Fairfield studios in Shreveport. Thanks so much for being with us, you two.

AJ HAYNES: Thank you for having us.

ADAM DAVIS: You're welcome.

MARTIN: The group itself, Seratones, is pretty new. You guys banded together around February of last year, but you've known each other a long time, right? How did you meet?

HAYNES: Punk shows.

DAVIS: Well, we all grew up in Shreveport. And we all kind of came from different musical backgrounds, but we all seemed to gravitate toward the punk rock scene here in Shreveport that was happening.

MARTIN: There was a big punk rock scene in Shreveport?

HAYNES: It was big enough. It was a lot of fun when it was here. (Laughter).

DAVIS: It's fleeting, you know, effervescent. (Laughter).

MARTIN: So how does that work in practice? You, like, see each other at a punk show, and you're, like, hey, you like punk? I like punk. You want to make music together?

DAVIS: Pretty much. We all introduced each other to different genres of music and different perspectives. Like, I wasn't very educated on, say, jazz and things like that. And the other guys, you know, would sit around and listen to vinyl all day of jazz stuff.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

SERATONES: (Singing) Take a ticket. Won't you take a ride, baby? You can meet me on the other side, baby. Come in closer, and I'll have you singing. I saw, I saw the light. Hey.

MARTIN: AJ, you've been singing for a long time?

HAYNES: I've been singing since - I mean, I remember I grew up singing in a backwoods Baptist Church. And so that's where I kind of developed a lot of my breathing and style. And also the performance element there was captivating to me as well.

DAVIS: You told me that they told you just to hit the back wall with your voice.

HAYNES: Oh, yeah. (Laughter) Yeah, whenever we first started singing in choir in Brownsville Baptist Church - shout out, hey. We didn't have microphones for a while. And so the pianist would just say, OK, hit that back wall with your voice. And that's where I learned a lot of how to kind of harness that power.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

SERATONES: (Singing) Leave your body behind, babe. It's so easy. It so easy.

MARTIN: Adam, how did you find music? Did you grow up playing an instrument?

DAVIS: Yeah. My mother was a big influence. We would drive around a lot, and she would always have the radio on. And she's really into, like, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.

MARTIN: Your mom was cool.

DAVIS: Yeah. She's very cool.

HAYNES: His mom's really cool.

MARTIN: So I understand we're catching you guys at a pretty interesting moment in your career because you have just been signed to a music label, right?

HAYNES: Indeed.

MARTIN: You've released a single on that label. It's a song called "Choking On Your Spit." Let's listen to it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "CHOKING ON YOUR SPIT")

SERATONES: (Singing) Well, you act like you do when you call and bleed. Do a thing like you said so I don't believe you. Carry on.

MARTIN: I hear some punk in there.

HAYNES: Just a little. (Laughter).

DAVIS: It's in there.

MARTIN: (Laughter) So this music thing seems to be working out, but you do have day jobs, right?

HAYNES: Yeah.

DAVIS: That's right. I'm actually on an extended lunch break right now.

MARTIN: Where do you work, if I can ask, Adam?

DAVIS: I do residential and commercial painting but hopefully will be transitioning out of that very soon.

MARTIN: And AJ, how do you pay the bills?

HAYNES: Oh, I'm a teacher.

MARTIN: Are you?

HAYNES: I am. I teach English III, Drama I and Broadcast Journalism.

MARTIN: So we're talking about high school?

HAYNES: Mhmm. High school.

MARTIN: Do your students know that you have this other life?

HAYNES: They do, but I told him they can't follow me on social media yet. (Laughter).

MARTIN: It's too weird?

HAYNES: It's really weird. I'll, like, walk into the classroom, and one of my kids is, like, Ms. Haynes, I saw you on the TV. And I'm, like, that's great. Did you do your homework? No? Ok. No, that doesn't work. Read the book I assigned you.

MARTIN: So in all of this do you temper your expectations, or do you shoot for the back wall, so to speak?

HAYNES: Definitely shoot for the back wall. You know, just you never know what you're capable of until you actually start getting in the groove of things.

DAVIS: We're very humble about the things that we do get along the way and hopefully that will help us get to where we need to be.

HAYNES: To the moon.

DAVIS: Yeah, to the moon.

MARTIN: Well, we wish you guys all the best. AJ Haynes and Adam Davis of the band Seratones. Thanks so much for talking with us, you two.

DAVIS: Thank you. This was awesome.

HAYNES: Awesome. Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.