Mind the Gap are anything but your typical alternative rock band. Alex Yang, Ruwanga Samath, Ozzy Doniz and Greg Cahn are taking the states by storm with their innovative sound. The diversity of the band’s composition brings musical versatility to the forefront. The group blends smooth vocals and melodic acoustics with futuristic synthpop that keeps the listener guessing from track to track.

The unique qualities of each song are engaging and command the audience’s full attention. The band recently released their debut album “The Good Fight,” and have begun to receive widespread recognition. In celebration of the band’s recent nomination for the 2012 All Indie Music Awards, JERK caught up with band members Greg and Alex to further delve into the complexities of their music.

JERK: What got you started doing music? 
Greg: My mom needed someone to sing harmonies to her lead in the car growing up. We sang The Beatles, Bob Marley, Simon and Garfunkel, The Doors and The Temptations together every time she would drive me somewhere. I quickly knew music made me feel so damn good.

JERK: How did your group end up together? 
Greg: Amongst the smog and the rat race that is Los Angeles, we all met eating tacos at El Taurino in Koreatown one day. It was with incredible luck that we happened to be there at that moment fighting over the last bit of hot sauce.

JERK: How would you classify your music?
Alex: It’s a hard one to answer because our music teeters on the line between Indie and mainstream. I tend to say we are indie rock with a hint of electro.

JERK: How would you define your music style? 
Greg: Acoustic harmonies fused with modern technology. The skin and bones is rock influenced, and the clothes that our producers Ozzy and Ru put on the music is more electronic and worldly.

JERK: Who are your biggest musical influences?
Alex: Our musical influences vary quite a bit, but we somehow meet in the middle. We have strong influences in classic rock, indie rock, 90s rock, electronic and hip-hop. My latest influences include Dave Grohl, Jeff Buckley and Breakbot.

JERK: What contemporaries do you admire? 
Greg: We’re listening to a lot of GotyeArt vs. Science, Jay-Z and Arcade Fire.

JERK: What motivates your music?
Alex: Pain.

JERK: What is the hardest thing about making music?
Alex: Getting everyone on the same page. Once you do, you can make history, but that window is usually brief. It’s why you see so few bands (with the same lineup) that have been together for 10+ years.

JERK: What is the hardest thing about working in a group? 
Greg: Everyone has there own hobbies and commitments outside of MTG. Ru has been crazy busy producing main titles for big studio films in 2011, including “Tower Heist” and “Fast and Furious 5;” Ozzy is a lead engineer for top music producer Linda Perry; Alex is composing music for film/tv on the daily and traveling the world; and I’m music supervising for TV, including Gene Simmons’ “Family Jewels.” So, we’re all working extra hard these days. But getting MTG to play Wembley Stadium one day is still and always the most important thing.

JERK: What is your ultimate goal with your music?
Alex: To write; to record; to tour. Repeat. To keep these three steps cycling as long as humanly possible.

JERK: When you perform, what type of emotions do you seek to inspire within your audience?
Alex: Our set is very dynamic and we have moments of both dance and intense theatrics, where the audience watches intently. Really, we just want everyone to dance their asses off so we can feed off that energy.

JERK: What was your most memorable show, and what made it the best show? 
Greg: Halloween 2011. It was our last show of our October residency at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles. We all dressed up as stereotypes of ourselves. Ozzy had on a sombrero and serape, Alex rocked a Karate Gi, Ru dressed as a Buddhist monk and I was a Hasidic Jew. The show was epic, and had us considering the costumes full-time. We are who we are!

JERK: How does your group’s cultural diversity manifest itself in your music? 
Greg: Ruwanga Samath is from Sri Lanka and Ozzy Doniz is from Mexico, so naturally, the sounds of these cultures spill into our final product, in the most natural way. When Alex Yang and I were looking for producers to complement our writing, we were looking for something very fresh and different, but very natural. We ended up with the best of both worlds. During the making of “The Good Fight,” we all brought new music to each other, some of which we had never heard before or probably never would have heard if we all never met. Most specifically, our song “Into the Cold” feels very Latin to me.

JERK: How does “The Good Fight” reflect your goals? 
Greg: My life motto coined from the movie “Cool Runnings” is “Peace be the journey.” The completion of “The Good Fight” was one of the hardest and most rewarding things I’ve done in my life thus far. It reflects loyalty, honesty, commitment and the ultimate pursuit of artistic expression. We almost lost the battle many times during the past three years of making the album, but we pushed through and kept on fighting until we finally got to take the epic drive on Mulholland Drive late into the night and hear our finished product.

-A.J. Allen

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