It all started in San Diego, 2008. Steam Powered Giraffe is a steampunk music group with amazing talent, but they didn’t start out that way. The members met while taking Theatre arts at Grossmont College and together became members of Troupe SD, a local San Diego pantomime group. This is where they evolved the quirky robotic personas. From there, they decided to take their personas in a musical direction and release their first album in 2009. This album was cleverly called Album One.
The personas are a steampunk robotic. This steampunk subculture provides an interesting aesthetic in both their music and their wardrobe. Though, this is much more than a simple gimmick. It’s amazingly in-depth. There’s a background to the group, explaining why these robots were created and even how they got into music.
The story begins in the late 1800s with the Cavalcadium, an elusive organization of amazing scientists, intellects in the fields of science, arcana, alchemy, and art. Thadeus Becile and Peter Walter were the highest of the order matched by only the other. They were friends, inseparable and competitive. Though even men of science can fall prey to the mysteries of the heart. Delilah Morreo was a starry-eyed chemist, the most eligible bachelorette within The Cavalcadium. Their attempts to impress her only met with her neutrality. It began with a copper elephant by Thadeus and Peter’s steam-powered giraffe as a rebuttal (thus the band’s namesake). It kept escalating including three humanoid robots intended to serenade Delilah. Neither won her heart regardless of their efforts. Their efforts only ended in death and strange enough music.
This is just a quick summary of the lore. The rest, you can read here. I’d highly suggest it. This website goes really really in-depth to the lore and mythos of the background. Each of the characters has a story explaining their origin, style, and personality. They also have webcomics outlining their adventures.
There are a few main people within their group. There has been some turnover in the band over the past few years. As of their most recent album, Quintessential, there are three current band members including….
The Spine (David Michael Bennett), named so for the extended titanium alloy spines poking through his formal attire. He’s a futuristic dieselpunk robot that’s rather convincing as a human in his movements and mannerisms. He stands out from the rest of the band in form of stylistic aesthetic. He’s one of the vocalists, he also plays guitar primarily, as well as pass, mandolin, and keys.
Rabbit (Isabella Bunny Bennett) is a copper clockwork robot, that’s quite glitchy. In fact, the glitchiest of the robots. Originally she was a male robot until she was gender-swapped in 2014 as her performer came out as transgender. Besides a vocalist, She plays the accordion, melodica, keytar, accordion, tambourine, and kazookaphone.
Zero (Bryan Barbarin) originally began as a robot with a fully loaded arsenal, designed for the great robot war of 1896. After the war, the need for a robotic soldier was no more and zero was abandoned in a facility deep underneath the Walter Manor. Enchanted by Zero’s deep voice, Peter brought him to the surface to join the Steam Powered giraffes as a bassist and pianist.
Together they create the steam-powered giraffe. They’ve performed various quirky venues such as the San Diego County Fair the San Diego Zoo, the Wild Animal Park, Legoland California, Ontario Mills, The Queen Bee’s Art & Cultural Center, and at numerous science fiction, fantasy, and steampunk conventions. They’ve contributed to the soundtrack for the game SteamWorld Heist and put those songs into a separate album titled, Music From SteamWorld Heist.
As far as music goes, they have a fantastic combination of covers and original works. Let’s start with the originals, such as “Fire Fire”, “I Don’t Have a Name for it“, “Honeybee” and, “Malfunction”. They also have phenomenal covers of several pop songs. With the sounds and vocals of Steam Powered Giraffe, these already catchy songs got even catchier.
“Cellophane” originally by Sia
“Diamond“ originally by Rihanna
“I love It” originally by Icona Pop
“Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” originally by daft punk
“Marshmellow World” originally by Bing Crosby
And here we have some cover inception. Here are some covers of the originals from the above cover artists.