Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Satellite Interview with Steven McMorran (vocals/bass)

While many guys hide behind the fallacy that they only watch One Tree Hill for it's amazing taste in music, I do not. The music that is chosen for each episode does in fact enhance the emotions tied to each individual scene, but stands alone just as well. During this current season, I was introduced to a song called "Ring the Bells," by a fairly new group by the name of Satellite. I was immediately drawn to the vocalist's honest lyrics and soulful sound. Steven McMorran (vocalist) began writing "Satellite" songs a couple of years ago, without the intent of others hearing them. Steven then joined up with Mitch Allan,writer/producer and former lead vocalist/guitarist of SR-71, Josh Dunahoo (guitarist) and  Justin Glasco (drums) to create Satellite. Check out their debut EP, Ring The Bells EP and visit their site http://www.satellite-music.com/fr_home.cfm.

This project seems to be fairly new, can you briefly describe the story behind how it began? With you and Mitch Allan correct?

I wrote Ring The Bells in late '08. Say The Words was next. I honestly expected no one wanted to hear them. Something about them felt relieving but a little too honest. Whatever it was, I didn't want them lumped in with other songs I'd written. At songwriter's night that Mitch was hosting at a bar in LA, I played one of the songs, and at the end of it there was just silence and a lot of shocked expressions. People were moved, and I was surprised in a way. I did it again the next week and then Mitch (a long time friend and cowriter) asked if I wanted to start a band. The goal was to just see what happens. We asked Josh into it, and He and Mitch started taking it to another level musically. Glasco was the last piece of the puzzle and the glue that holds us together. Collectively, we feel like we've made a ship we'd be proud to go down with. That's a nice feeling. It's a nice thing to be able to say.
In July you released the "Ring the Bells Ep," were the songs on this album written specifically for the Ep? Had you been working on them, prior to the band?
Say The Words, Ring The Bells, and Saving Us Tonight, were all just songs I had written prior. Once the EP discussion started happening, we finished it out with the Silhouette, Turning On My Own and What You Need.
The song "Ring the Bells" seems incredibly personal. Is there a story/specific inspiration behind it?
It's about my friend who was in the middle of a divorce. I just felt so bad for them. They did things the way they were told, and ten years later they were calling it quits. He was pretty confused and she was becoming venomous. It was strange because, the song came out in about 2 hours, which NEVER happens for me. I didn't really intend on writing about it. It just happened and I went with it.
Is there a full length in the works?
YES. It's gonna be wrapping up in July. It will have Oh Carry On on it, as well as 3-4 others we're excited about.
I absolutely love your music video for "Say the Words," how did that come together? Did you come up with the concept yourselves?
Walter May, the director, is a friend of Josh and mine. He heard the song and asked me to read a treatment he made. The focal point was chaos going on around the lead, but everyone is wearing the censors. I loved how it tied into the meaning of the song. There's a million ways we sabotage ourselves. Their names and identities are secondary to the fact that we allow ourselves to put up with them. That's the heart of it. The rest was just making sure that the theme was overtly reckless, rather then overtly sexual. I'm not too worried either way, but I get the impression a lot of people don't like the video. Like it's too confusing… but whatever, we tried. We still love it.
How does the writing process pan out for you guys?
Well so far it's been mostly me in my living room after midnight. That's changing though. As we were finishing up the EP, Josh and I wrote Turning On My Own. It just kind of turned into that phrase and we loved the double meaning it had. What You Need was the three of us (pre-Glasco). We are starting to fall into certain roles as we progress and I think I'll always be in charge of melody and lyrics, and Mitch will always be the scientist making the pieces fit together. No matter how the songs arrive, we are all trying to form the sound; it's us as a band and we are trying to define it as Satellite.
Can you tell me a little bit about the recording process behind the Ring the Bells Ep?
I love that we had all the time we needed for development. Bands don't get enough of that anymore. We stole a few hours a day and got together at Mitch's place, and each time we got there with fresh ears, and no timer. I think we cut vocals on Say The Words at least 3 times before we felt like it was perfect. Today that's a luxury. The whole record went like that.
With such emotionally driven lyrics, do you find it difficult to perform them live sometimes?
It can be difficult, but mostly it feels very relieving. At first it feels like showing up to school without your pants on, but always gets better.
Who would you say are some of your biggest musical influences?
It's hard to say. I love Dylan's lyrics and grew up with the pop sensibilities of Paul Simon James Taylor, and Peter Gabriel. Radiohead, and Coldplay are somehow always on the recently played list, and leaving out Nirvana and Rage Against The Machine would be wrong. As a writer, I hope to be a Dylan or a Springsteen, but only in the sense that they were able to describe emotion so well. That's why songs can feel like friends; they describe what you're feeling, and that alone can remind you you're part of a bigger story.
What about influences as far as live performances, anyone you may have drawn from?
I think, as a band, we aim for the great bands we grew up buying tickets to see. Stuff like REM, the Cranberries, Radiohead, Coldplay, U2… to modern shows like that of Kings Of Leon and Muse. I'm becoming a big fan of Grizzly Bear and the way they interact with their songs. I can't say we are trying to be any of these bands, but I know I identify with the way every one of these lead singers means what they're saying. If that comes across, then the performance is doing it's job. All things have to serve the connection we feel towards the songs.
Perfect day, you are driving in your car with the windows down, what are you listening to?
Probably Ryan Adams' "Heartbreaker" album.
What is next for you guys? Touring?
We have a lot of plans, including SXSW in March. Touring is a big part of next year. In the mean time we are making the rest of the LP and trying to keep the momentum going with the tv/film placements.

Monday, November 29, 2010

He Is We Interview with Rachel Taylor and Trevor Kelly

He Is We originally started off as an acoustic project between vocalist Rachel Taylor and guitarist Trevor Kelly. Soon after, the two hit a basement studio and created some demo recordings just for fun, not knowing that they were on to something big. After gaining nationwide touring experience with big bands like Yellowcard and the Rocket Summer, they are set to release their anticipated debut LP. Recently I met with the two founding members of He Is We while they were opening for Bryce Avary, (The Rocket Summer), on his fall acoustic tour. Go pick up their new album, "My Forever," recently released on Universal Motown!

The “demo” songs that you have out right now have been out for about a year now, how did those come together? Was it an actual Ep?
Trevor: Yeah, that is actually a collection of stuff that Rachel and I wrote in a friends basement.
Rachel: We had absolutely no intention of it actually becoming an Ep at the time. To be honest with you, I had no idea what an “Ep” was when we were recording. I had never been in a studio, and didn’t really know anything. When I heard that all of it was going to compiled into an Ep, I had no idea what that meant! Now I do!
You guys have a full-length in the works correct?
Trevor: There is a full-length album, completely done and ready to be released. Dates coming soon!
How long ago did you guys finish up the record?
Trevor: It was finished about two months ago, the recording side of it. Now we are just going through the “red tape,” of signing who gets what. We have just been laying low for these past two months, and putting our full-band set list together. Unfortunately, we did not get to play the full-band set tonight.
Do you have a tour lined up soon after this (Rocket Summer Tour)?
Rachel: Yeah, it is all in the works. We are trying to perfect the whole full-band thing right now. Due to the fact that we are doing an acoustic tour, we haven’t gotten to practice as a full-band yet. I think that we are taking several weeks off…
Trevor: To re-vamp our set and hopefully go back out early next year.
How has this tour been so far?
Trevor: Three days in, sold out every night, you can’t complain! Oh and great food of course!
This project started out with just you two, but how did the other guys come into the picture?
Trevor: To make a long story short, I was in a metal band before I met Rachel. So basically the band was compiled of old metal band buddies and we met Harrision through one of our other buddies. Then, of course, Rachel just came along…
Rachel: We met at work.
Trevor: We like to say eHarmony, but it was actually work.
Rachel: I always tell people that we met there, and they are like “that is so cute!”
I love the Iyaz cover, how did that come about?
Trevor: The real story? Well, let’s just say we owed somebody some merch money and the company owns a little label in Seattle. They said “instead of paying us back for the merch, why don’t you just do a song for our compilation?” To be perfectly honest with you, we aren’t really satisfied with that song…
Rachel: It sounded like me singing Karaoke…
Trevor: We went into the studio and recorded some “scratch” guitar, and then a couple months later we were expecting a call to come back in to finish tracking the rest of the song. Instead of that, they just handed us the finished product. We were like, “you released that?” For some reason, all of the fans like. It.
Yeah, it’s the most popular song on that compilation on iTunes.
Trevor: Which is ridiculous! Ha. We weren’t satisfied with it, but what can you say? Our fans like it!
Rachel: We had fun! I love that song.
Trevor: I love that song too; we just felt that would could have done it more justice. Made it a little bit more acoustic, less karaoke, more us…
Did you guys do SXSW last year?
Trevor: Yeah, we played the PureVolume House with Nevershoutnever, Versaemerge…
I heard a funny story about you changing a tire and then boom! You are in your underwear. Can you elaborate on that?
Trevor: That was our first tour down to L.A. and back, and basically on our way back home we were really excited that we were going to drive through Oregon and get home early to surprise our girlfriends. But of course, the tire blows out on the side of the road. Needless to say, we are broke down, it’s hot and we are on the side of the road. So we all get out of the suburban in our “undies,” and start throwing rocks into a Burger King cup on the side of the road.
Rachel: They were all doing the hard work, and we were just sitting there.
Trevor: Yeah, Rachel and I are sitting there and throwing rocks in cups. I think I won, but it doesn’t have to go on the record.
Rachel: I don’t care.
Trevor: OK. I won then.
So how did the song with Aaron Gillespie (The Almost, formerly of Underoath), come about?
Rachel: Well, one of the producers that we worked with on our new record, Aaron Sprinkle, basically said that Aaron would love to do the song. We were speechless! It was the coolest thing that I have ever experienced. Word got around to him and it worked out.
So who all did you work with on the new album?
Trevor: We had Aaron Sprinkle, who has worked with Anberlin and the Almost, Dan Romer, who worked with Ingrid Michaelson…
Rachel: Completely different producers made it awesome. It wasn’t even about who they worked with, it was more about what type of genre they worked with.
Trevor: Kasey Bates who did Chiodos and MXPX…
Rachel: Yeah, more punk and scream type of stuff…
Trevor: Rach didn’t actually scream so don’t get too excited.
Rachel: No, but it was so cool to be able to work with producers that have worked with so many different genres of music. It wasn’t like “Holy crap, they have worked with so many different artists.” It was more like “They are going to bring so many awesome elements to this record.” We have some pretty interesting songs, that are different because we developed them with that producer and they still have the “He Is We” sound, just with a little edge on each one.

We Are The In Crowd Interview with Tay Jardine (vocals) and Jordan Eckes(vocals/guitar)

We Are the In Crowd seems to be on the fast track to pop-rock superstardom. Their new EP, Guaranteed To Disagree,” its filled with catchy hooks, strong riffs and dueling vocals that will make you want to roll the windows down! I got a chance to chat it up with Tay(Vocals) and Jordan(Guitar/Vocals), after they put on a high-energy opening set for Hey Monday, Cartel and the Ready set.

How did you guys approach the writing for your EP “Guaranteed To Disagree”? I heard that the EP came together pretty quick, is that correct?
Tay: Yeah, it was all last minute. There were two songs, “For the Win” and “Never Be What You Want,” that had already been written and released. Then we re-released them on the EP, with a few different things, like Will Pugh from Cartel sang on “Never Be What You Want.” The other songs were very last minute. We all write as a whole and it is pretty much all five of us coming together, which takes a while but everyone is happy in the end.
Do you all write lyrics?
Tay: It’s mostly me, Mike and Rob. Cameron will have ideas every once and a while, along with Jordan. It really depends though. We will come up with a topic, where one of us will say “this is what I want to say, does anyone have suggestions of maybe how to say that?”
How did you get hooked up with Will Pugh for “Never Be What You Want”? Was it completely random?
Tay: It was. We wanted to make it different because the song was already released and Will lives right down the road from where we recorded.
Jordan: We wanted a guest vocalist and we worked with Zack Odom and Kenneth Mount, who did “Chroma” and their self-titled album (“Cartel”). They were like, let’s call Will up, because he’s home right now!” He came over and it was awesome! He nailed it and we are really happy with how it turned out.
Do you have a full-length in the works? Are you writing for it, or even recording yet?
Tay: We are currently writing. It has been a slow process, actually. We want the full-length to be…
Jordan: The best thing it can be. I don’t want it to be a “Guaranteed To Disagree, Part II.”
Tay: Yeah, I someone to pick it up and say “this one is awesome, and that one is awesome and I can’t pick a favorite!” I want to happen hopefully.
Do you get time to write on Warped Tour (2010)?
Jordan: We didn’t really have that much time to write.
You probably didn’t even have time for a shower.
Jordan: That is true (laughs). It was just non-stop. We always had an interview at this time, etc. The schedule was so hectic, but it was awesome. Being on Warped Tour was probably the best thing that could have ever happened to us, and it shows. We this short tour with this band named Amely, from Florida. We were going down to Naples to write and play, and during the shows kids were coming out and singing along. It was really beneficial.
Was the Warped Tour experience intense at first?
Tay: Yeah, absolutely. Coming into it, we knew that and there were still obstacles that we faced that had us saying, “dang! That is not what we were thinking was going to happen!” (laughs) It is definitely intense.
That is so crazy, because a little over a year ago you were doing the whole “D.I.Y” kind of thing. How do you guys find yourselves connecting to fans?
Jordan: Yeah, we were doing the whole “MySpace pushing,” which is pretty much dead right now. We are on our FaceBook game right now, which is pretty much all we do right now and we get on there and talk to fans. That is one of the main reasons that we are out here. We just want to meet fans, and become friends with these people so they can come out next time and hopefully bring their friends. It’s becoming less of a “professional” thing, and more like we have friends all over the place. We get to hang out with them, and it’s not like they come out just to see us, they come to hang out. It’s way more personal that other bands. We are just hanging out.
Tay: I always think it is funny when people ask that too, “are you going to meet us afterwards and hang out?” I am always like, where am I going to go? I am not trying to hide out in a closet right now, so of course!
You mentioned FaceBook and MySpace, how important is social networking to artists like you?
Tay: So important. Actually, our MySpace got hacked, and then AbsolutePunk.net posted an article about the hacking, and that is the only reason Hopeless (Records) found us. That is the only way (laughs).
Jordan: I still remembered the night Mike called me up and was like “dude, Hopeless Records want to do a conference call and talk to us.” That was all because of the hacking, and that was when MySpace was just about to go over…
Tay: Twitter is so important to us too, because of how literal and up-to-date it is. People know if I am peeing at the venue.
Or maybe things like “a turtle breathes through its butt?” (referencing their new music video for “Both Sides of the Story”)
Tay: (laughs) Yeah, I found that out on twitter.
Jordan: What is funny about that video is that all of those tweets were real tweets. We just checked hash tags like “#Ifoundout,” or “#ireallythink” It was really cool.
Do you come up with that concept yourselves?
Tay: It was a mix between our ideas, and the director’s.
Jordan: Yeah, and we were really happy with how it turned out. It has been done for a while, so it was weird being on Warped and knowing that it was done, but I’m glad that we waited to release it. It is definitely good promotion for us on this tour.
What kind of music have you guys been listening to recently?
Tay: We listen to a lot of pop-punk, like Jimmy Eat World and Reliant K, but at the same time we were listening to Bring Me to the Horizon on the way here (laughs).
Jordan: We just like listening to music. It doesn’t really matter what kind of genre it is, like we will listen to rap and hardcore music in the van. Anything that is good.
Do you find it important to listen to diverse selection of music?
Tay: Yeah, I think that if you listen to the same exact genre of music that you play, it is so easy to be influenced by it. There will be times where we are writing a song, and then realize that it songs like something we just heard on the radio.
Jordan: Yeah, we will write a riff sometimes and then realize that someone had already come up with it.
Tay: There was a while when we were writing, that I didn’t listen to music because I didn’t want to be influenced (laughs).
Windows down in your car on a perfect day, what are you listening to?
Tay: That is really funny you said that, because our whole Ep was based on that exact phrase. When people asked us what our goal was with the EP, we said that we wanted to introduce ourselves and two it is coming out in the summer so we want people to role their windows down and listen to it. That is very interesting that you said that. Personally, it depends. There is that Death Cab song “Passenger Seat,” where they literally say roll the windows down, and I remember listening to it one day and being like “I’m just going to try it.” I did it and it was amazing! (laughs) That is kind of embarrassing, but that is a good song to listen to with the windows down.
Jordan: For us, we live in New York so it is always kind of cold, so when summer time comes around I love to listen to New Found Glory. The self-titled album is perfect for when you are driving with the windows down. Literally every song on the album is perfect for that.
Tay: I remember when we were writing the album, we put New Found Glory on and said that we couldn’t wait for it to be summer. We couldn’t listen to it then, because it has to be summer to fully enjoy that band.
What’s next for you guys?
Tay: We have some offers for spring tour, but nothing is set in stone yet. We are definitely going to write through the winter and December. We are taking the holidays off to do that, and then we will see how the tours work out!
Are you shooting for this summer to release the album?
Tay: Yeah, we are either shooting for the same time the “Agree to Disagree” came out, or around September. When kids start going back to school, they talk about who they are listening to.
Jordan: The first two months of school kids are like “I just got this new record, and I have been listening to it every day on the way to school!” I remember when All Time Low came out with “So Wrong, its Right” in September and being like this is awesome. It will probably be before Warped, if we do it again.
Are you shooting for Warped again?
Tay: It all depends…
Jordan: It was such an amazing experience, because I remember going to Warped as a kid and wishing that I was onstage.
Tay: Being on the other side of that fence is insane. Sometimes you feel like you don’t deserve it.
Jordan: Yeah, why am I here? We have only been a band for a little less than two years. On Warped tour, I remember thinking that last year we were doing this (touring) in a van and we lost all of our merch in Chicago. All of these terrible things were happening, so it was definitely a blessing to be able to be on Warped. Even this tour, because we are all huge fans of these bands.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Our Lives In Motion Interview with Dave Beaudreau(vocals) and Tony Langone(guitar)

How did you guys come together in the fall of '09?
Tony: Dave and I have played in bands for years. In the Summer of 2009 I was working on a solo project and it slowly turned into Dave and I writing music. We started looking for people and slowly but surely the band started.
Dave: After being on a year long hiatus from playing in a band I was extremely excited to get the project off the ground. Tony and I had sat down for countless hours discussing what direction we wanted to move in, what we wanted to portray as a band, and goals for the coming months. Our most important discussion was about sticking to our guns and writing music that we loved and that was true to our hearts, we both agreed that the new members would also have to be on the same page.
How did the writing process come together for "Salvation In Secrets"?
Tony: It was really just started off with me writing songs at my house and sending them to the guys and them learning them and Dave putting vocals over them. It was really all the band knew at the time. We then sat down for about a month or so and starting producing the record before we went in to record it. I was really happy with the product we made.
Dave: The writing process on the record was somewhat trial and error. We were five guys from different backgrounds learning to work together. I really have to give Tony a lot of credit for pulling a system together that worked for all of us. This was my first time as lead vocalist in a band so I had a lot of learning to do. After putting in endless hours of hard work and late nights up I myself grew into my own and began writing melodies and lyrics that I am extremely proud of.
Was there anyone specific specific that you were listening during the writing/recording process that you could have credited as inspirations?
Tony: On Salvation there was all sorts of bands we can credit. Both Dave and I were for the first time listening to mostly the same records. We were listening to a lot of Lower Definition, The Receiving End Of Sirens, Anberlin, Ivoryline. Of course we were listening to many other band and different types of music found inspiration from all sorts of bands.
How did the recording process pan out for you guys?
Tony: It was very quick. We did 5 songs in 6 days. It was very fast pace and I ended up doing all the guitar and bass on the record. By day 4-5 I was getting a little burnt out but I loved every second of it and hearing our songs come to life is really like watching a baby grow. It's such a good feeling when the songs are finally done.
Dave: The recording process for me was awesome. As you can imagine, this being my first time as lead vocalist, there was a lot of anxiety and nerves walking into the studio. I had three songs completed in their entirety, but still had two to write; one of those being "The Getaway" which is the single off the record. I began tracking on the 4th day of recording and was pleasantly surprised and pleased with my performance and the overall outcome.
How was it working with Rob Freeman? How did you guys get hooked up with him?
Tony: Two Words. Amazing Producer. He finds what it is in your band that makes you, you and he brings that out 100% He is such a talented guy and I would go back with him to record another record. We got hooked up with him from our new drummer Jeff, who was friends with our old guitarist Justin. His old band recorded there and suggested it to us. It was a great call for sure.
Dave: Recording with Rob Freeman seemed like a huge step in the right direction for both me and the band. Rob is an amazing producer and really knows what he was doing. It was great working with a legitimate producer for my first time in the studio as lead vocals. I learned a lot and the day we left I walked out with a whole new outlook.
I heard you guys are already working on your next release? Ep? Lp?
Tony: Yes, we've been hard at work for the last three months and the record is coming out so sweet. We are all really pumped to finish our next release :)
Have you been approaching the writing differently for this next release?
Tony: It's not so much myself anymore, Its the band as a whole. It's been incredible being able to work with such a talented drummer Jeff and Dave has been incredible in the pre-production of this new record. I feel like this new record is us, 100% who we are and it's true and I can't wait for the world to hear this record.
Any bands/musicians that you are really into right now?
Tony: Acceptance, Circa Survive, Funeral For A Friend, and Explosions In The Sky
After the new record is done, are you guys planning on hitting the road hard? Any details yet?
Tony: Tour, Tour, Tour !!!No details yet but we should be booking some definite shows soon
How important would you say social networking is for you guys?
Tony: Huge, Huge, Huge, Huge, The Internet is so big these days. It's the ultimate way to get your band out there. You just need to find a way to get it all over the Internet.
Perfect day, driving in your car with the windows down, what are you listening to?
Tony: Right now, Acceptance!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Underoath Interview with Grant Brandell

The summer that I graduated high school, I found myself drawn to a certain album cover. "They're Only Chasing Safety," may have been the first album that I had purchased that included "scream" vocals, but it certainly was not the last. For over a year, that album was in heavy rotation in my car and on my very cool stainless steel Dell DJ, on top of being one of my favorite album to listen to with the windows down. It also acted as a gateway to appreciating other types of music, that I had previously not been exposed to. Over the past several years, Underoath has continued to release heavier music that breaks the barriers of hardcore by inventing brand new sounds outside of the normal spectrum of the genre.
With the release of their new record, "Disambiguation," quickly approaching (November 9th), I had the chance to speak briefly with bassist Grant Brandell concerning their fresh take on the writing/recording process and how they managed to generate a darker overall sound.

So how did you guys land on the name “Disambiguation” for your new album?
Grant: Well, the name (“Disambiguation”) came from the actual symbol that we have ( ᴓ). It has a bunch of definitions for, but that is one of them. Basically what we were trying to do originally was leave the album name just as the symbol, but obviously people need a name to call it by so we decided to go with that definition of the symbol. The symbol has so many different definitions, and so many different ways to define it. It kind of represents what we thought of our band in the regard that not one member makes up or group. People come and go, there are no original members now and the band seems to be it’s own thing. We thought that was pretty cool, so that is where it came from.
The album is coming out on Tooth & Nail and Roadrunner?
Grant: Yes, it is going to be released in the States and Canada on Tooth & Nail, and the rest of the world on Roadrunner.
How did you get hooked up with Roadrunner?
Grant: We met one of their agents over in Germany, when we were over there on tour. Tooth & Nail does a great job for us in the states, but there hasn’t been a big push for overseas growth. We wanted to try something new and we were in the works of renegotiating, so we brought the idea to them and it ended up working out well without hurt feelings. We are stoked to be on Roadrunner, because from what I have seen they always do a great job pushing a band.
How would you say the recording process for “Disambiguation” differed from previous releases?
Grant: Well we did this one with Matt Goldman, who did the last one too. This one was a lot more comfortable, at the same time extremely analytical. We pretty much analyzed every point, but in a good way. It would be stressful at times, but everyone was down with trying to go in the same direction, which we haven’t been before. With past members we caught a lot of bumps in the road with where the song should go, what should happen in the song and the overall vibe. I think this is the first time on a record that everyone was on the same page, to go wherever the song took them and not forced at all. It was defiantly stressful, but it was the most exciting vibe that we have had in the studio. It was great that we were able to create something new that was fresh and really stoked to be a part of.
Has having a new drummer brought change to the group?
Grant: It was kind of a big change; because our old drummer Aaron (Gillespie) did a lot of the singing too and now our signer Spencer does everything. So it was definitely a big change in that regard.
With Aaron’s departure, is anyone going to step up and do the clean vocals? Spencer maybe?
Grant: Yeah, he is going to be doing all of the vocals. I wouldn’t say that it was fifty-fifty, scream to clean vocals, but it is pretty close to that. He is doing a lot of singing, which is awesome. He has always been a good singer, but it just never came up because Aaron had such a great voice. He just kind of took the reigns this time and shocked everyone really. He did a great job.
How would you say the writing differed for this album, from than that of previous releases? Was it written before or after Aaron left?
Grant: There were a couple of ideas with Aaron, but it was actually very much like the theme/style like “Changing Future Dreams.” When we got Spencer in the band, we were like “We have a new singer, lets put the record out now. Let’s get it done because we haven’t put anything out in two years.” We had a writing schedule already booked for this album; we had studio time already booked. We wanted to release the record before it was too late. A lot of times with labels, if you try to release an album in mid-to-late November, it get pushed back to February. So we had all of this time booked and everything, and were on the last leg of a European tour that we were on, before we came home and started writing, Aaron ended up leaving. Literally, within a week from being back home, we called Daniel and he was down at the house. He just jumped in headfirst. He never played on a metronome, and he learned that. We wrote the whole record in a about a month and a half, and just crunched it out three to five times a week. It was definitely exciting and it felt the same way as when we were making “They’re Only Chasing Safety.” There was a new vibe there and a new direction to go. Looking back, it was kind of ridiculous that we were able to pull it off, and keep the same schedule that we had planned, which was already tight. As far as the writing process went, everyone was involved and even Daniel came with guitar riffs and such (he used to write guitar riffs for Norma Jean back in the day). In the studio, it wasn’t sold, until all six dudes were sold on it.
So when you guys approached a song for this album, you just brought in separate ideas and collaborated from there?
Grant: Yeah, pretty much. We are all on the same page, as far as everyone has an equal say. Obviously just because of musical purposes, Tim writes the most because he is the guitar player, whereas someone like Chris who plays the Keyboards, he has an equal say. If a part sucks, you have to tell the guy “the part sucks.” It is just cool to know that everyone is on the same page, and we have passed the “emotional/hurt feelings stage.” We realize that what we are trying to do is important, and that we are trying to make music with these other five guys, because you trust them and you care about their opinion. When they say something, you are going to listen and take it in.
In your past records, especially in your last release, “Lost in the Sound of Separation,” a great deal of the lyrics seemed to be faith-based. Is that trend going to continue in this album?
Grant: Yeah, we are still the same dudes. Spencer writes most of the lyrics, and he is the same guy. Kind of the same themes, like moving on with life, and different struggles. I think the big thing with us is that it is written more from a “Christian perspective,” not “Christian lyrics.” Things like dealing with situations, whatever they may be, and how God intertwines with that. How your views, beliefs, and feelings intertwine with those decisions. Spencer has been writing a majority of the lyrics since “Define the Great Line,” so I think that the style of the lyrics will keep the same path, but kind of a little darker this time. He is the kind of guy who has been through a lot of stuff, and struggles with a lot of stuff and at the same time has a lot of views and thoughts about being in the world. So that is all kind of mixed in there.
You had stated that Spencer’s lyrics were a little bit “darker” this time around. Do you think that extend into the actual music? Does the album have an overall “darker” vibe to it?
Grant: I think so, for sure. This album has some of the heaviest songs that we have ever written. I think that the “sing” melodies are a lot more minor and have a darker vibe to them. Even the stuff that could be considered the “prettier” stuff, still has that kind of dark/indie mood to it. There is very little on the record that sounds “poppy.”
What is next for you guys? Touring?
Grant: Yeah, we actually leave in November for a tour with A Day To Remember

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thousand Watt Stare Interview with Christian Martucci (lead vocals/guitar)

Thousand Watt stare is a band consisting of Christian Martucci on vocals and guitar (formerly of Black President, The Dee Dee Ramone Band and The Chelsea Smiles), Pat Kim on bass (Unwritten Law) and Dylan Howard (Unwritten Law) on drums. The band came together when Christian reached out to Pat about potentially working on some songs he wrote. Pat then brought in Dylan, and soon the guys were in their friends basement recording what turned out to be their debut Ep.  I had a chance to speak with Thousand Watt Stare's frontman, Christian Martucci...

For the writing of the album, did you guys come together and collectively create them? Or were the songs pre-TWS?
Christian: I've had the songs on the EP kicking around for a little while. They weren't really anything that would work with The Chelsea Smiles or Black President. I made some home demos of them with a drum machine and sent them to PK one day. Next thing you know, we're in a rehearsal room with Dylan. It happened so fast. I'm happy to be doing this with them and will definitely welcome their ideas with the new stuff.
I heard that all of the recording for the album took only one day? Was that just how it worked out?
Christian: Yeah pretty much... We just went in, set up our stuff, and it sounded perfect. We only spent about an hour getting the right sounds. We recorded each song twice, picked the best take and moved on. We could have taken as much time as we wanted in there but just didn't need to. The sound was just there and more important, the vibe... It's the fastest recording I've done in years and probably the best. We had a blast in there.
Hardline Records is putting the record out, how did you guys get hooked up with them?
Christian: Ken Seaton managed Black President and we always got along great through all the ups and downs of that band. He called me up and told me about a studio he was building in his garage and asked if we'd like to come down and record a few songs. When we were in the middle of the session he told us he wanted to put it out. Knowing how hard it is to find someone you can trust with your music, we immediately said yes. It made perfect sense. He manages us, records us, AND puts our records out. It's a no brainer. At the end of the day Ken is just a good dude and into it for all the right reasons.
What would you say this project brings to the table, that maybe other projects didn't?
Christian: I think this band is more diverse. My previous bands were definitely more genre specific. Thousand Watt Stare to me is a mixture of all the different styles of music I love. We just play whatever we want and there's no one there to stop us. It's the happiest I've ever been in a band.
Who are some guys that you have looked up to in the past as far as stage presence/live performance goes?
Christian: So many. It all depends on the mood I'm in. Glenn Danzig has always been a huge influence on me... Stiv Bators, Michael Monroe, Iggy, Alice Cooper, Muddy Waters, Hank Williams, The Ramones. I could go on for days. The old stuff is truly what speaks to me. If Hank Williams tells me he's having a bad day, I believe him.
After the album drops November 16th, what's next for you guys? More touring?
Christian: We are going to play as much as possible for now. Our next move will be to record a full length and hit it hard.
How important is social networking for you guys?
Christian: Probably not as much as it is for some bands. We're honestly just doing this because it feels right. It's not about how many people like us on Facebook or any of that stuff. For us the most important thing is making music together.
Riding in your car, windows down on a perfect day, what are you listening to?
Christian: Chuck Berry