Members of THE SOUTHERN BELLES may be relatively young in age, but they are more steeped in the Richmond music scene than some of the oldest veterans. Together, the band consists of guitarist Adrian Ciucci, bassist Andrew Carper , drummer Raphael Katchinoff, and keyboardist Tommy Booker, and each member contributes to the vocal duties. They are unquestionably serious when it comes to music and define themselves as a psychedelic, American, Rock & Roll band, but ultimately, they are a group of down-to-earth guys who wholeheartedly love, not only what they are doing, but doing it together.

When did THE SOUTHERN BELLES come to be, and how? Are the current members all original? How long have you all been together?

THE [SOUTHERN] BELLES have been around—give or take—for the past three years but have all known each other pretty much our entire lives. We’ve all played in different bands around Richmond since we were teenagers including: PEOPLE’S BLUES OF RICHMOND, ANTERO, BAD NOISE, GOOD DOG, SILO EFFECT, THE MILKSTAINS, and many others.

The band came about as a need for live music for a friend’s Halloween engagement party, and it took off from there. At the time, there were only three members, with Adrian now being the only original member of that first show. We’ve recently welcomed a new bass player, Andrew Carper to the band.

Where did the name THE SOUTHERN BELLES come from?

Adrian came up with the name as an ironic joke to get three bearded guys to dress in drag for the Halloween party. They never got around to getting in drag, but the joke stuck. We still disappoint venues we’ve never played before when a bunch of grungy dudes show up instead of prim and proper southern women.

How would you describe your musical style/sound?

We draw from a large melting pot of influences and try to portray that in a genuine and authentic manner that, at the same time, we can give props to a lot of heroes of ours who have paved the way musically before us.

What did you all grow up listening to? What is your favorite music to listen to now? Who would you say are your biggest influences?

We all grew up listening to different styles of music, but we enjoy taking in each other’s different [taste]. It ranges everywhere from old country and honky-tonk to progressive jazz, to grunge to bluegrass, reggae to psychedelic rock and everything in between. We’re all pretty voracious when it comes to listening to music; we all try to keep our ears to the ground on new as well as older stuff. For biggest influences right now, a lot of us listen to SNARKY PUPPY, MY MORNING JACKET, WHITE DENIM, GOGOL BORDELLO and AQUARIUM RESCUE UNIT. Although, right now a lot of us like to listen to local stuff which includes: NO BS BRASS BAND, JACKASS FLATS, BUTCHER BROWN, SPORTS BAR, THE NORTHERNERS, THE GREEN BOYS, NAVI, MEKONG EXPRESS, NERVOUS TICKS, THE TRILLIONS, THE SHACK BAND and PEOPLE’S BLUES OF RICHMOND. The list goes on, but we love all of those guys!

What was your first out-of-Richmond gig? What was that like? What is the farthest gig you’ve had?

One of our first out-of-town gig was in Charlottesville at Coupes de Ville; it was fun to finally get out and play all these songs we had been working on. It’s one thing to sit in a practice spot and rehearse tunes [versus] actually going out and playing them live. The past year saw us go the furthest we’ve ever been when we went on tour up in Burlington, Vermont.

Do you have a favorite venue and/or a specific show that was particularly memorable?

We have a few venues we really enjoy playing in; we have been holding a few once a month residencies here in Richmond and Charlottesville. In Charlottesville, there’s our Wednesday [shows] at Rapture, where we can play and try new things out of town, in front of an awesome crowd, and with an amazing sound system provided by Bullock Sound. In Richmond there’s Cary Street Café, where we really cut out teeth when we used to play there almost twice a month on Wednesdays. But our favorite is definitely our First Friday residency at The Camel where we were lucky to have been asked to take. A few of our favorite shows happened there. We got members of THE BIG PAY BACK to sit in, and we performed a set of SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE songs, or when we did an entire GRAM PARSONS set with our good buddies from JACKASS FLATS.

What do you all do when you aren’t playing shows or practicing?

We’re usually pretty busy booking upcoming shows or preparing to go on tours. A few of us still play in other bands around town as well, in SILO EFFECT, THE MILKSTAINS and BANDREW.

What was the first original SOUTHERN BELLES song?

“Shotgun,” which is also the first song off of our debut album

What is the best part of being in a band?

Getting to travel around the country, seeing new places, and meeting new people. But definitely getting to share a musical bond with each other when were on stage.

Where do you all hope to be in ten years?

Hopefully if it all goes well, we’ll still be trekking across the world playing music!

Who is a local band/musician/DJ etc. that you think deserves more recognition?

Richmond is chock full of amazing people and musicians. I think as a whole, RVA is starting to get the respect the scene totally deserves. Go out support your friends and the art and sounds they make. Go see live music!

For more updates on THE SOUTHERN BELLES, please be sure to “like” their Facebook page and check out their website.

Marianna Campano

Marianna Campano

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