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MUNNYCAT gets lively for 330 Day

MUNNYCAT will play its first area shows in seven years when it performs Saturday at The Summit.fm’s 330 Day concerts.

The duo of Hubbard native Katianne Timko (K808, left) and Austintown native Khaled Tabbara (Khaledzou) will be joined by Red Wanting Blue, Angela Perley, Jack Harris, Hunter Skeens & the Forerunners and Megan Bee for two sold-out concerts at The Kent Stage.

“(Program Director) Brad Savage from The Summit is very supportive of us and very supportive of local music,” Tabbara said during a phone interview from their home in southern California. “It’s such a wonderful thing we have that in the area. He’s played a lot of our songs and reached out to us (to play 330 Day).”

“We’re huge Summit listeners,” Timko added. “We listen from California online. It’s just a nice little relationship we have with them and we’re so excited to come back and play.”

It might have been seven years since MUNNYCAT played live locally (at Youngstown State University’s Fall Fire Fest), but local audiences haven’t had to depend just on The Summit to hear its music.

Since relocating to California, the duo’s songs have been used in national commercials (Target, Cadillac), video games and television / streaming series, most recently the latest season of “Love Is Blind” on Netflix.

“I didn’t know how popular that show was,” Timko said. “Everybody saw it.”

MUNNYCAT has prioritized videos, streaming and those licensing deals to get its music heard, but Tabbara and Timko are working on making live performance a bigger part of what they do.

“We just played a show in San Diego, and we’re booking a tour for the fall,” Tabbara said. “Traditionally, we’ve done more studio stuff, and I think the pandemic was part of that.”

Timko added, “It’s fun to work in the studio and make the videos and get the music out there exactly how you intend it to be shown and heard, but we really missed playing for people. The energy you get from an audience you can’t get in the studio.”

Tabbara created tracks that will allow them to tour as a duo with a rig that can fit in an airplane carry-on bag, and arrangements that strip out the prerecorded parts to tour as a six-piece band.

There also are plans later this year for a vinyl release, which was mastered at Abbey Road Studios in London. The couple (they got married in 2022 after being longtime musical partners) are exploring different ideas to make that physical release as unique as the music in the grooves.

“We plan to have some tricks up our sleeve,” Tabbara said. “We’re talking to manufacturers about what’s possible. What are the outer limits of what you can do on vinyl?”

With an emphasis on the studio rather than being a live act, Tabbara said, it allows the duo to focus on the needs of the individual song rather than accommodating the musicians in a band. If a band has a guitar player, most if not all the songs better have a guitar.

The current arrangement allows him to create a beat that “a drummer would need 23 arms to play” or a song that has six piano parts and no bass.

“We can make it exactly how we dream it to sound,” he said. “If a song doesn’t need a guitar part, you don’t put one in.”

A week before 330 Day, Tabbara and Timko were still trying to decide what songs to play during its set. The band’s songs can veer from indie pop to old school hip hop and draw on a diverse range of influences.

“It’s definitely going to have the MUNNYCAT stank,” Timko said. “It’s still going to be pretty hip hop infused and pretty electronic, but we’re coming up with ways to fuse in more organic instruments that we can pull off live.”

“We’re still trying to find that balance that represents what we sound like,” Tabbara added. “Brad encouraged us to be pretty unapologetically MUNNYCAT, but it makes sense going on after Angela Perley to keep it with the theme of the day, a more melodic DJ sound.”

If you go …

WHAT: The Summit.fm’s 330 Day concert with Red Wanting Blue, MUNNYCAT, Angela Perley, Jack Harris, Hunter Skeens & the Forerunners and Megan Bee

WHEN: 3:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: The Kent Stage, 75 E. Main St., Kent: 330 Day Concert, sold out.

HOW MUCH: Both shows are sold out

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