The other 8 percent

Local band focuses on communicating a positive message through music

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Simply 8

For more information about the band, including where they’ll be playing and to sample some of their music, visit Simply 8 band on Facebook or www.simply8band.com.

When 16-year-old singer and songwriter Rachel Higgins was looking up lyrics on Google, she was disappointed to see most popular songs contained extremely questionable material.

“Ninety-two percent of the Top 100 Billboard songs are about sex, drugs and profanity,” she said. “Eight percent are not. We want to be that 8 percent.”

Thus, the name for a band was born. Simply 8 is comprised of Higgins, Zephry Lyne, 19; Soroush Badiei, 16; Hayden Kane, 18; and Gabe Mukobi, 16.

All are Camas High School students with the exception of Lyne, who graduated in 2015 and now attends Clackamas Community College.

Simply 8 was formed a year ago, when Lyne and Kane began playing covers together, but the group didn’t have a name yet. The other members have all joined in the past six months.

They describe their style as “indie rock and definitely not screamo.”

Since February, these classmates and friends have taken Simply 8 from a group of friends jamming together to a band with social media notoriety, paying gigs and recording a self-titled CD.

This summer, some of the bigger venues have included the Clark County Fair and Heavy Metal Brewing in Vancouver.

Simply 8 draws its inspiration from bands such as Heart, Bon Jovi, Counting Crows, Matchbox 20 and Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

During the composing process, the band members will typically come up with a melody, then send it to Higgins, who writes the lyrics.

“I will listen to it and get a feel for it, then elaborate on that,” Higgins said.

She only began song writing recently, but grew up singing in church choirs and has been around music her whole life.

“Song writing is pretty new to me,” Higgins said. “But I think about events in my life and different experiences, and go from there. It can take anywhere from 45 minutes to several days.”

Added Lyne, “Composing original songs is a lot more challenging than doing covers. It basically means a lot of noodling around and finding your inspiration.”

It’s been a whirlwind six months, but Lyne sees all of the group’s hard work coming to fruition.

“We just keep working hard at recording original songs, booking gigs, and hopefully getting the kind of exposure that will result in a recording contract or tour,” he said.

Kane noted that the use of social media has really helped in the process.

“We will be in the middle of a set at one of our gigs, and we’ll tell people to like us on Facebook,” he said. “We instantly have several more likes and more people who know about us.”

Lyne noted that if you want something, you have to ask because if you don’t, the answer will always be no.

“People are saying yes to us,” he said. “We just put ourselves out there and let them hear what we have.”

They even landed a gig at Portland’s Analog Cafe, which will include opening bands and tickets to attend.

“It’s all been a gradual process to get to this point,” Lyne said. “Just one step at a time. We went from nothing to having five or six gigs booked into the future. It’s a lot of hard work and effort over time.”

Kane said the realization that the band was becoming locally known hit him when he was in the store and people recognized him as being in Simply 8.

“That was weird,” he said. “It didn’t feel real until others started noticing it as well.”

Higgins said band dynamics have changed drastically since she attended her first rehearsal in February 2016.

“The first time I went there were no songs we were working on and everyone was just kind of playing around,” she said. “I thought, ‘Where is this ever going to go?’ It took a bit for it to click for me.”

Badiei has been playing the drums for five years, but never imagined he would be in a band.

“It’s been a really cool experience,” he said. “I have never been in the position before where I thought I would be performing in front of people like this. It was weird the first few times, but now I think it’s really cool and has been a good experience.”

Mukobi is the newest member, having joined this summer.

“Even since then, there’s been lots of progress,” he said. “We have written a lot more songs and it’s been really exciting to see the progress.”

The group isn’t sure what will happen in the future, but they are enjoying the ride.

“If we get a legitimate opportunity while most of us are in high school, then we’ll go for it,” Lyne said. “It all depends on where we are at in a year.”

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