Q&A: Madi Sipes and the Painted Blue


Madi Sipes and the Painted Blue during their interview Photo credit: Miguel Orozco

People have been raving about Madi Sipes and the Painted Blue who finally graced Chico with their musical presence this past weekend for a house show and So Far Sounds event. The band, comprised of Madi Sipes, Nick Cunningham and Caleb Koehn, sat down with The Orion to talk about their influences and how they got to where they are now.

Why the name?
Madi: Blue is all kind of our favorite color. Also if music were a color, the sound of our album would be blue for the sadness and the tones. When I listen to music I see it as more visual.
Nick: It’s also a pretty emotionally bruising album.

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Photo credit: Miguel Orozco

What is the name of your most recent album? And what might someone hear while listening to it?
M: The album is called After Hours. It’s all done in the nighttime.
N: It’s pretty pop-centered stuff, but at the same time pulled some influences from old school jazz artists like Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald. We took some soul music like D’Angelo and Motown stuff and tried to blend it all.

What else is your music inspired by?
M: A lot of emotion and feelings and certain moments and trying to express how I felt this day. We have this one song called “Sex and Sadness” inspired by the sadness in sex. Every song we have in the album is kind of sad and sensual.

How did you guys meet?
M: Nick and I met when we played for a band called the Westwards, an indie rock band. I was playing a show and I asked Nick if he could maybe accompany me and help me fill some gaps in the music. We started doing that every time I had a show. Then I was like, ‘should we just be in a band?’ and he said ‘yeah.’ Then out of the blue one day, he says ‘Oh ya I asked this drummer to come and sit in on our show.’ Nick introduces me to Caleb, who was a jazz drummer at a rival high school. We get on stage and play a full set of our original music and he did really well. We asked him to join our band and it’s been so ever since

What was one of your favorite memories on tour?
M: Our last show in LA, we played at Hotel Café and we booked our first motel room. It was St. Patrick’s Day, so it was hectic in general. The owner of the motel is super weird.
N: The owner of the motel thought I was bringing in hookers.

M: We decided to walk to the venue since it wasn’t super far. So we carried all of our gear with us—kind of heavy stuff. We didn’t realize how long the blocks were. This is like a triathlon. We got the venue all sweaty.

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Photo credit: Miguel Orozco

What is your favorite quality about the band?
N: It’s pretty on the fly. We don’t have to rehearse a lot since there are only three of us and we all know the songs.

M: Also the friendship of it. I wouldn’t be able to play any of these songs with anybody else. They make up their parts and when I play them a song, they give me feedback. It’s a team thing and without those influences, our sound would be different.

What is a philosophy you live by in terms
N: I was watching a Nile Rogers video the other day and he was talking about life mottos. He said something to the effect of “if you can reach the point of being too funky, you’ve reached musical nirvana,” which I agree with because we’re all about the funk.
M: Groove or die.

Madi Sipes and the Painted Blue will be releasing a new album in June. They can be found on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, SoundCloud, Bandcamp and will eventually have music released on Apple Music and Spotify.