Youngstown Band Plans Career Paved With Originals

By Gabrielle Fellows

Mountain Kicker may be a newcomer in the local music scene, but the four-piece indie-rocker group is already planning to make a mark in Youngstown and the surrounding areas.

Although Ben Ratner (bass), Jack Mocker (lead guitar), Evan Smith (drums) and Dominic Ferreri (rhythm guitar/vocals) formed Mountain Kicker on a whim, the group feels as if their laid-back attitude toward making music will lend itself to be a saving grace in the current tightwad music scene.

Ferreri said he believes the ease of writing original music comes from the members’ overall attitudes and experience as musicians in the past.

“We’re writing like crazy — we’re on, I think, nine original tunes now? We all have an input with writing tunes. These guys are really awesome musicians and have really creative minds,” Ferreri said. “So far, out of the songs we’ve written, we’ve hit on five or six different genres. I hate putting us into a category this early in the band, but we’re indie-rockish. The people that have heard some of our stuff have said we sounded like the early White Stripes, which I’m really cool with.”

Smith also said that writing songs seems to come easily for the band.

“For some reason, I don’t know why, it’s so easy for us to pump out originals. Everyone’s had their influences in the past, and bringing us all together makes it a lot easier to write songs,” Smith said. “We’re pumping out originals as fast as we can because ultimately, you’re not going to get anywhere as a cover band.”

Mountain Kicker is planning to hit the recording studio in March to track some of the originals they have written for an EP.

“Once we get the demo out, we’re just going to be handing them out,” Ferreri said. “We aren’t going to be selling them. No one’s going to hear [the music] unless we put it out there. If we do make money here and there … great. [We] do this because we love it. No one’s going to hear it unless we put it out there.”

Like any band, where Mountain Kicker will end up in the future is a bit of a mystery.

“Honestly, I don’t know where we’ll be in the future, but right now I’m just happy to be playing music with friends,” Mocker said.

Ratner said he feels the same about the future of the band.

“The music industry is flooded with all these new talents. Back in the day there was only a few places people could go for their music and their hope to be famous,” Ratner said. “Now you can be famous and make a living being unheard of to some people and a godsend to others. As far as I’m concerned, as long as people are at our shows and we’re seeing their positive reaction to our music — that’s success.”

Hear one of the band’s original tunes here.