Jon Crispin Photo
"Outer Stylie was a song before it was the name of the band," says group guitarist and vocalist Nate Martel. "I wrote the song and then changed Tom [Schack] (bass) and my band name at the time, Legal Lies, to Outer Stylie. It is basically a take on a Jimi Hendrix lyric from the song '1983...(A Merman I Should Turn To Be),' where Jimi says, 'Rock the outer style.' Outer Stylie does just that; it's rock music with a style that can't be confined, and it is truly out there."
Also featuring John Duffy (guitar) and Kyle Heon (drums), Outer Stylie at least resides locally, calling Northampton its musical home base. But the band has changed significantly since its inception in 2008.
Martel says, "In the early years, Outer Stylie was a three-piece with a much more familiar, classic rock-driven sound. When John and Kyle joined the band, the sound became notably heavier, as they were previously death metal players. Also around this time I became really into experimental, instrumental music, which really influenced my songwriting. Now the sound has evolved to display all of these elements."
With tracks like "Jupiter Moon," "Into Being" and the band's namesake track, Outer Stylie straddles a fine line between progressive metal and a more organic brand of experimental rock. Rhythms ebb and flow, guitar lines crackle and weave; however, riding through it all are psychedelic flourishes which manage to go for a listener's ears as well as his throat.
"Outer Stylie takes from many different genres to create a truly original sound, but two things are clear about its sound—it is heavy and it is psychedelic," Martel says. "I typically come up with the song and then bring it to the band to take on a metamorphosis from one man's brain to four. After everyone is on the same page and adding exactly the right amount of themselves to the composition, we go through the rhythms, melodies and harmonies with a microscope to make sure everything that is being played is adding to the greater aesthetic of the song."
Though they've played shows around the Valley and New England, Outer Stylie promises fans in attendance a "transcendent experience" at every gig. Even those who have seen the band numerous times can, it seems, never truly know what to expect. But that too is part of the "journey."
As for future plans, the group is currently hard at work recording a full-length album in Millers Falls with Brian Townsend. And if you ask Martel, he wouldn't have it any other way.
"Music is the blood of musicians. It is our blood, it is what keeps us alive—not our crummy day jobs, but that undeniable joy of an amazing practice or an outrageous show," he says.
For more information on Outer Stylie, please visit www.facebook.com/pages/Outer-Stylie/108044532548055 and www.myspace.com/outerstylie.