Mega-Def's first practice was in the basement of Shadow Lounge, and its initial performance thrown together in only four days, for that venue's 10th-anniversary show. But the self-described "funk-punk-psyche-hop" band ended up clicking.
"We worked pretty well together right from the beginning," explains D. Licious. "It was easy to talk to everybody and easy to write songs. That's why it was encouraging. It was a good experience even though everyone seemed kind of nervous."
Like a group of old friends, the band -- Billy Pilgrim and Nick Belaine on the mic, Slim Filtas on guitar, D. Licious on drums and Fat Nisi on bass -- makes rock music in a fun, organic way, melding genres few typically think of as belonging together: hip hop, funk, metal.
Nerves and genre-pigeonholing be damned: The music-making that ensues when the guys get together can't fit into a category, lyrically and otherwise.
"We're very eclectic in our influences," Pilgrim says. "Everybody's coming with their own. Same wavelength but different frequencies."
The band's goal is primarily to make face-melting rock jams. But, fronted by a couple of well-seasoned MCs, the lyrics hold a weightier place in the music, much like the hip hop that's inspired them.
"If the song we decide to make is a political song, and it's based on our views, then it is," says Belaine. "If it's a ‘Shake your ass, get crazy and get drunk' song, then that's the kind of song it is. If it's on some consciousness expansion, then that's what it is. It's all just how we wanna look at it at that time."
Rough around the edges? Sure thing. But it's a roughness that makes rock worth banging your head to, and Mega-Def is a band steadfastly dedicated to making bodies move. And, true to its inherent hip-hop element, the band samples, mimics, deconstructs and pays homage to the blues and to rock masters like Joe Perry, Slash and Bowie.
"Our music is exploitative in a lot of ways," says Slim Filtas. "But we're equally exploiting everybody."
Find Mega-Def at www.facebook.com/MegaDefPgh.