Interview with New York-based “Stoner Rock” Band Defining 13

Interview with New York-based “Stoner Rock” Band Defining 13
Written by Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen

Defining 13 is a three-piece original stoner rock band from upstate New York. They have released one EP to date and are currently working on a follow-up. According to the band, the new songs have a heavier vibe and aren’t as raw as the first EP. Bass player Kevin Little says, they “are still ‘evolving’ themselves and their music follows!” I’ve been working with Defining 13 for a while through MBM Music and can tell you they are much more than a band, they are a brotherhood. It was great to have the chance to talk to all three band members to learn more a bit more about them.

Metal Babe: Hi guys! I’m so happy we have the opportunity to do this interview. I love working with Defining 13. How long have you all been playing, and do you have any professional training?

Kevin Little: I’ve been playing since I was a teenager. I started on guitar and am self-taught.

Don Hinshaw: I have been playing since 1991. I did take some guitar lessons early on and a brief set of lessons about six years ago on understanding theory a little better, other than that, just many hours sitting in front of a TV playing.

Pat: I have been playing drums for 35 years. I don’t have any formal training. I took a few lessons early on, but I am mostly self-taught.

Metal Babe: Very cool. Who are your main influences?

Kevin: Steve Harris got my interest in bass right away. Then I got into Billy Sheehan, Cliff Burton, and Les Claypool. I have a lot of bass influences!

Don: For me now, my main influences on guitar are Jerry Cantrell, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Tim Sult (Clutch), and Matt Pike (High On Fire). When I first started out, CC DeVille made me want to play guitar, and then Joe Perry and Slash made me want to be a better player! Vocally, Layne Staley is my favorite vocalist, close behind him are Neil Fallon (Clutch), Dave Wyndorff, (Monster Magnet) and of course, SRV.

Pat Nadge: The band KISS really got me started wanting to play music. Drummers that most influence me are John Bonham, Peter Criss, Bill Ward, Tommy Lee. The list goes on.

Metal Babe: That’s great. You definitely have a lot of varied influences, but I see how they all make sense together. Speaking of together, how did the band come together?

Kevin: Pat messaged me one day out of the blue and asked me if I still play and if I’d like to jam sometime with him and a guy named Don. I hadn’t played for over eight years prior, but I said sure! This was September of 2016.

Metal Babe: Awesome. What do you think are the advantages/disadvantages of being a three-piece?

Kevin: For me, it gives me more freedom on the bass, and more space in our songs to be creative. 

Don: I feel like being in a three-piece band forces each of us to play harder and more aggressively as opposed to having more members. For me, it is a challenge to sing and play at a high level, but I’ve found that when Pat and Kevin are really on, I can feel that energy and it makes me play harder as well! As for disadvantages, I can’t really think of any, I’m a big fan of a minimal setup, and a three piece gives me everything I dream of being in a band.

Pat: I see no disadvantages. I believe our combined playing style really fills up the space we create in our songs and the sound is much bigger than some other bands with more players and instruments.

Metal Babe: Very cool. What’s the music scene like in Upstate New York?

Kevin: Different cities have different ‘cliques’ so to speak. We seem to fit in well with all the bands and styles somehow and like playing the scenes and meeting new people.

Don: It’s a mixed bag. It’s a great area for cover bands, country music and more recently, ‘tribute bands’ have been doing well…. There are some scenes that embrace heavier stuff, but it isn’t like it used to be years ago. For a band like ours, it can be difficult because we do not sound like anyone else around here.

Pat: The scene is alive and well. There are a lot of bands competing to be heard and it makes us strive to spread the music of Defining 13.

Metal Babe: What shows do you have coming up? You actually have two shows June 2nd and you have Nikstock coming up too. (Thank you Nick for adding Defining 13 and Corners of Sanctuary to the bill!)

Pat: Yes, June 2nd is a double header. The Trishstock Festival in NY that afternoon and then Corners of Sanctuary that night in PA. We are super excited to be playing with COS! Then a battle of the bands show (date TBA) in our hometown. A few other dates over the summer… A lot of our shows pop up last minute. We are always looking for an opportunity to play live!

Metal Babe: Kevin, you have a lot of interesting things going on. In addition to being the bass player of Defining 13, you’re an artist and have your own company Unlimited Kreations, and you have your own natural food company Mad Dr. Genius. Tell me more about all this.

Kevin: I definitely have my plate full! I started my art business in 1999. I’ve done portraits and caricature drawings of so many people. I have done logo design and glass engraving too. Mad Dr. Genius is my specialty food business. I love to cook and create. I base this business around beef jerky, smoked meats, chocolate, and spicy treats. All are passions of mine.

Metal Babe: What final words would you like to say to our readers?

Kevin: Do what you love to do. Hard work and support is important, as well as supporting others in everything.

Don: Stick to your dreams and vision. The key to success is what you have accomplished in your own mind, not what society says should be successful for you,even if it does not fit what is considered mainstream,or what is popular. For me, playing music that we worked on and wrote is a way of sharing a part of who I am with the world, and it is an extremely satisfying feeling. I am grateful to have found a band with Kevin and Pat that share that same vision!

Pat: Thank you to all that support what we do! If you are just learning about us, please check us out on Facebook and through MBM Music LLC!

Metal Babe: Great final words! It’s been a lot of fun talking to you guys. Can’t wait until we get Defining 13 out on the west coast!

Kevin: Can’t wait to get there! It’s going to be a blast when it happens!

Pat: Yes, thank you! We are trying to get the funds together to come to the west coast and rock out!