Hailing from Norfolk, GALAXY DYNAMITE combines “passion driven psychedelic electro dance grooves” along with elements of surf rock and trance. This melodic threesome includes bassist/vocalist/dijeribone player Sam Wolffe, guitarist/vocalist/synth player Baker Cunningham, and drummer Michael Mahgerefteh. Collectively, they have played more than 300 shows along the east coast, including nine times at the Norva with acts like PAPER DIAMOND, PAPADISIO, and CONSPIRATOR, as well as a 56 show summer tour taking them to 14 festivals across five different states. Currently, the band is #1 on the Reverbnation’s Dance Charts for Hampton Roads and #12 for rock. Mahgerefteh was willing to take time out of his busy schedule to discuss how his band got started and what they have planned for 2014.

I saw that you guys were nominated by VEER Magazine for Best Experimental Band of 2013. How did you do?

We lost, but we were happy to be nominated fo’ sho’. Some band called OVER THE OCEAN won.

How did your band get started, and why did you decide to name it GALAXY DYNAMITE?

It pretty much started with open mic nights in Norfolk. The name comes from the Dragon Ball Z Playstation 2 video game (laughs). It’s a minor character’s move, and I was playing it with Joe Shugrue, who is Paul Shugrue’s son and was my roommate at VCU. I used the move one time, and he was like, ‘that would be a cool band name.’ So I got some friends together and started playing open mic nights, and whenever they asked if we had a name, I told them we were GALAXY DYNAMITE. When I moved back to Norfolk after college, all my friends from high school had moved away, so I started going to open mic nights at 37th and Zen every Tuesday. I got there two hours early just staring at the guy with the list. My bassist and I jammed a lot so I asked him to play with me, and we got one of our friends to play guitar. We just did that for three to four months. Our first “real gig” was at the Regal Beagle [in Virginia Beach] for Penthouse Energy Drinks, and they even had this old lady there serving energy drinks. They didn’t pay us, but I think we did get some free drinks.

According to Paul Shugrue of WHRO’s radio show ‘Out of the Box’, he said, “Man, you guys could just go for the whole program!” What was that experience like?

We went on his show to promote the Blueberry Jam Festival in Wakefield. We have been the headliners for the past few years, and WHRO was one of the sponsors, so it made sense. He said that there were 30,000 people listening in when we played. The best thing that came from it was that it totally validated what we are trying to do. We jammed our hearts out even though we had to cram all of our crap into what was a barely a walk-in closet, and there was barely enough room for all of our stuff, us, and him, but it was a great experience. Paul Shugrue has listened to a million bands, and he said that he really liked us.

2013 was a really big year for you, which included the successful completion of a 56 show summer tour, which took you to 14 festivals in five states including The Big Up festival in New York, Mantrabash in North Carolina, and Camp Barefoot in West Virginia. Do you have any big plans yet for 2014 that you can disclose?

Pretty much the biggest thing is playing the Pink Moon Festival in West Virginia for two nights. It really represents our growth as a band. The first time we played it, we were one of the first bands to play on Thursday night. We are playing 15 music festivals this summer, and we might headline a show at the Norva in the fall, but we’ll see. We have also been trying to branch out to Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Delaware. We really want to expand our home market and bring bands in so we can play shows there too. The opening spot on a show is most valued between bands that have something to reciprocate. We also love helping bands from DC and Philly. We don’t really tour up north too much though because it’s like pissing in a sea of piss, but they do have some great festivals.

Have you been working on any new material recently?

Yeah we have a whole new album, but we are waiting on time and money to do it right and make it a masterpiece, ya know? We really want to do it right. We are always writing though. We usually have a new song to play just about every show. We also love to cover anything from the Power Rangers to MADONNA. With our new stuff, people can expect more singing. We used to be only an instrumental band, but we are working on incorporating more vocal parts into our songs.

You told me before that your band has a ‘10,000 person collective reach online which we use to promote often, with our website exceeding 15,000 unique hits’. In what ways do you promote to reach out to so many people?

People used to hate me for yelling and screaming about it for the past three and a half years (laughs), like literally screaming. We also have these little orange stickers with our name and our website on them. They are so small that we buy 50,000 of them at a time and just put ‘em everywhere. I just know how to collectively reach big groups of people, and I always make an effort to be 100% enthusiastic about it. When we started the band my other two band members didn’t really do much to promote so I took it upon myself to do it. After our shows, I tell people to tell their friends about us and to go to our website. I always try to put it on the table for people to check us out.

Did you go to school for marketing? It sounds like you know what you are talking about?

I originally went to school for political science, but now I’m in school for music industry management. I just looked at how all my favorite bands made it work and took everything that I liked about each band and put it into this.

Do think that the psychedelic rock scene is still strong in Virginia? How does it compare to other states where you have played?

I think it is because there are so many festivals, and there are usually around 5,000 to 10,000 people at each fest. A lot of jam heads, hippies, and fans of THE GRATEFUL DEAD are into us too. Like I said before, there are a lot more live festivals up north like in New York and Vermont and more promotion for them, but Virginia has some great festivals too.

Since you mentioned that you guys are a big festivals band, what is your stance on the usage of molly and other drugs at those types of shows?

I don’t support or advocate it, but I think that if you are going to do it, use your best judgment. We just want people to be safe. We are not naïve that stuff is going to happen, but it shouldn’t be about using drugs. It should be about the music and spending time with your friends.

What can your fans expect from your upcoming performance on “The Hampton Roads” show on WAVY TV Channel 10?

It was supposed to be tomorrow, but it was moved to the 21st. We are going to be playing some stuff that is more mainstream, but we are also gonna bring the rage for our GALAXY DYNAMITE heads. It will be a nice little mix.

Do you have any shows that you would like to announce?

March 8th we are playing at Belmont, and we will be having a very expensive light show (laughs). Also for our NOVA fans, we are playing tomorrow at The Bugalow in Chantilly. Come check us out!

For more updates on GALAXY DYNAMITE, be sure to “like” their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, check out their music on Soundcloud and Bandcamp, and visit their website.

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