Steve Molitz Talks Catskill Chill
Photo by Roger Gupta
The 2nd annual Catskill Chill Festival is coming up September 9th, featuring Umphree’s McGee, Conspirator, 7 Walkers, Dumpstaphunk, Particle and much more. I had the opportunity to ask Steve Molitz (keyboards for Particle) a few questions regarding the festival, his background and influences.
For more information about The Catskill Chill Festival, go to the festival website.
MB: What made you want to go back to Catskill Chill again, the second year in a row?
SM: Catskill Chill is such an amazing and unique festival. It’s held at Camp Minglewood NY, so people can stay in the bunks, or camp on the beautiful grounds. It’s such a cool atmosphere for a music festival because it has such an intimate feeling. The fans and musicians can really connect, and the production values are off the charts. You can tell that the organizers really put a lot of time and effort into making sure that the fans had the best sound, the best lights – the best of everything, so that they could have the best experience possible. And of course, the line up is incredible. There are so many great bands playing this year, and I’m thrilled and humbled to have been invited back to play the festival two years in a row.
MB: When did you first start playing? Who were your idols? Where are you from originally?
SM: I grew up in Los Angeles, and I was very influenced by all of the records that my parents played around the house. I heard a lot of Talking Heads, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Elton John, Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Motown, etc., and I was always fascinated by the fact that my parents and their friends danced and became more social when the records were playing. Childhood note to self: Music = Celebration.
MB: Where did you study?
SM: As for any formal musical education, I took a few years of lessons around age six, but other than that, I’m self taught. In “high” school, I discovered bands like Pink Floyd and The Doors, and I would play along with my favorite albums on my Casio synthesizer. Eventually, I started writing my own songs and jamming with friends. I played in bands throughout college (at CU in Boulder), and when I moved back home to LA after school, I started seriously pursuing the idea of becoming a full time musician. Within a year, Particle formed, and I haven’t stopped touring since…
MB: What kind of keyboards do you play?
SM: I’ve played dozens of different keyboards on tour over the years…everything from old analog synths like the Korg MS10, to modern classics like the Moog Voyager. If the synthesizers are my gravy, the meat and potatoes would be a Fender Rhodes (I like the suitcase 73), a Hohner Clavinet (D6 through a Fender Deluxe), and a Hammond B3 (through a 122 or 147 Leslie). These days, if I’m flying out for a short run of shows, I’ll just bring a Korg MS2000 to cover lead synths and pads, and I’ll bring a Nord Stage to cover Rhodes, Clav, and Organ sounds. But I’m always open to new sounds, and I love experimenting with new gear.
MB: What is your favorite type of music?
SM: I love all styles of music. My itunes library houses everything from Britney Spears, to N.W.A., to Philip Glass, to Anthony Braxton. I also listen to a lot of comedy. Hicks, Carlin, Burr, Rogan, Attell, Cross, CK, etc..
MB: Who haven’t you played with that you would want to?
SM: David Byrne.
MB: What is the greatest thing about playing with Particle that you specifically enjoy?
SM: The Freedom.
MB: Thank you so much for your time.
SM: See ya at the Chill!!