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Jinx pops up in town

MIDDLEBURY — It’s not often that a snap decision made out of necessity results in beautiful music, but that’s exactly how Jinxbox, Middlebury’s up-and-coming electronic pop group, was formed.
Just over a year ago, New Haven resident Alex Kite and his close friend Micah Rubin of Middlebury, who are both now 16 years old, had lined up a gig for their recently formed band without first finding a vocalist. Kite and Rubin had previously attended the Rock It Science summer camp held at Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater with Zara London-Southern, so they knew she had the singing skills they required.
“They needed a vocalist, so basically Micah just asked me if I wanted to be in the band,” said 17-year-old Middlebury resident London-Southern. “At first I thought it was just going to be a two-song collaboration and then we ended up writing an album.”
Entitled “Unmuttered,” that album was especially important to the band because it allowed them to explore different sounds and ideas, some of which ended up working out better than others. “With the first album, we were just sort of starting and we didn’t really know what we could do,” said Kite. “We tried to do a lot of stuff.”
“I think it was a really great experience in terms of figuring out what sound is in everyone’s strong suit,” said Matias Gonzalez, the band’s 20-year-old producer. “I think going from there, this second album is going to really focus in on a more cohesive sound.”
The band is currently in the early stages of producing their as-yet-unnamed second album, which will center around an electronic pop sound.
“Electronic is an incredibly wide genre, so just to narrow down I’d say it’s basically an electronic pop record, which doesn’t mean Top 40, it just means that it’s structured songs that are centered around melodies,” said Gonzalez. “Beach House kind of stuff. Purity Ring is huge among everyone here.”
Jinxbox doesn’t just make studio albums, though. Creating satisfying live performances is also a key part of the band’s vision — a real challenge due to the nature of electronic music.
“The live versions of the songs are often pretty different,” said London-Southern. “We have to reconfigure a lot just in terms of being able to play it. We played a couple of new songs last Friday and the live versions that we came up with are just completely different from what we’re doing with them now.”
Often it is tempting to just ‘press play’ for electronic music performances, which essentially means letting a computer play preprogrammed music. “When you go to a Katy Perry show, everything that’s not her voice is someone just pressing play on the instrumental track,” said Gonzalez. “We don’t want to do that.”
Unfortunately, time is in short supply for these young musicians as they continue to work on their next album. While Kite and Rubin will remain in the area after the summer, London-Southern attends Bard College at Simon’s Rock. The trio are busy writing as much music and lyrics as possible before they must part ways for the school year.
Jinxbox’s next live show will be at Middlebury’s Marquis Theater on Friday, Aug. 19,  at 7 p.m. They also are schedule to play at Two Brothers on Saturday at 6 p.m.
The band’s music is also available to stream online at: soundcloud.com/jinxbox/

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