Kali Ma and the Garland of Arms began as a solo project for Jami Kali.
In 2014, the Wilkes-Barre musician released her first album, “Holy Drone,” but hoped to expand her project into a full band.
“Ray Novitiski and I found one another,” the vocalist explained. “He brings artistry into his guitar playing by adding color and texture to sounds. He’s also one of my favorite songwriters. In 2017, Shiny Montini and Matt Chesney joined the crew and completed us. A solid rhythm section is essential for our musical vision.”
In July, the quartet released its debut, self-titled album, and the indie group recently went On the Record to discuss the creation of the album and what’s in store for the future.
Q: How did you choose your name, Kali Ma and the Garland of Arms?
Kali: At birth, my parents named me Kali, after the Hindu goddess of the same name. Almost two decades later, I dressed as the goddess herself for Halloween. Loaded with symbolism that I’ll leave for the reader to Google, heads are strung around Kali’s neck and, in a similar fashion, arms suspended around her waist. I decapitated and de-limbed some unfortunate Barbies and Kens, hung them on string, and my outfit was complete. At the Halloween dance party I attended, things got wild, and my garland of arms went missing. “Has anyone seen my garland of arms?” No one had. Years later, it was exposed that the garland was hanging on an acquaintance’s apartment wall in Philadelphia.
Q: What do you hope for your audiences to experience while seeing you perform?
Kali: When I sing to the audience, there is a sensation inside of me similar to the feelings that would accompany the pouring of one’s soul out into open ears, the type of ears that are willing to hear, not just listen. I hope this type of hearing accompanies feelings of satisfaction, bliss and oneness.
Novitski: We have a lot of alternating dynamics. You can expect it to be laid back in places and high energy in others. We put a lot of thought into each set list. The key and the mood of one song will dictate what we choose for the next song to create a flow. We want the crowd to feel as though they experienced something more than just a band playing a bunch of songs. When we aren’t up on the stage, we also just like to hang with everyone and have some drinks and laughs.
Q: You just released your self-titled debut. Can you talk about its creation and your process in writing and recording?
Kali: All four of us are songwriters, and the eclectic ideas we bring to the jam room really shape the songs we create. I’m so thankful to have crossed paths and begun collaborating with humans as talented and inspired as these three.
Novitski: Everything happened so fast. I can’t believe how easy it was. I can only assume having four song-smiths in one band was the factor. We record every new song in its infancy, listen to it later, critique ourselves, make improvements where needed, then build off of the foundations. We have a lot of fun while writing and recording. We get along very well, laughing and joking as much as we play our instruments. As for our debut album’s recording process, I recorded everything in a tiny room in our old apartment. I’m blown away by the high-quality sound we achieved in that little room. Making music with this band is like a holiday every week. I love these cool cats.
Q: Do you have any future goals for the band?
Kali: We shall continue to evolve together and offer to the world whatever magic we may possess. We wish to express ourselves, inspire others and to connect with the world we live in.