Speak Easy is a new band spawned from the ashes of several bands that used to have a serious presence on this site. Armed with an EP and writing new material, the band offers a sound that's refreshing to listen to. Thanks to Mark for answering these questions.
Please introduce yourself and what you do in the band.
What's goin' on everyone! I am Mark Woodbridge, I sing and play guitar with Speak Easy.
Speak Easy has a lineup made up of a lot of former AP.net bands. Who is in it and how did you guys meet?
Speak Easy is comprised of four people who have extensive touring experience and released many domestic and international albums through various independent labels. Steve Anderson also sings and plays guitar, John Castaldo is our bassist and backing vocalist and Mike (Monkey) Cipriano is our drummer.
I met everyone through Steve. We have done a few tours together. While I was in Dear Whoever, we did a tour in '07 with Steve's band Crash Romeo, Mayday Parade and Driver Side Impact, we hit it off immediately. The very next year I joined up with Driver Side Impact as their guitarist and backing vocalist, and as luck would have it, Crash and DSI did yet another tour together. When DSI made the decision to re-locate to NJ from Ohio, we moved into New Brunswick, neighboring Steve. Once DSI stopped touring a couple years later, Steve approached me with an idea to start a new band. John and Monkey toured together as John played bass in Bigwig. Monkey went on to drum for Day At The Fair and Jetison. Steve and Monkey for a long time talked about starting a project, so basically Monkey recruited John, and Steve recruited me. It was kinda funny how I met John, it was one of the last DSI shows and I was introduced to John at the bar, and I remember saying something to the effect of "Hey nice to meet you, so apparently we are in a band together?" From there we started writing songs together and went right into the studio, it has been really fun to see not only how we have progressed with writing together, but how all four of our respective styles have meshed together. On top of that, I created a unique tuning for us to play in, so its been a learning and exploring process for all of us.
Being that you guys have been around the industry for awhile and know what constitutes a strong song, does it make harder to write music living up to a certain expectation?
The biggest challenge for us to create strong songs was to figure out exactly what we wanted to do musically to incorporate all of our styles, without sounding "too much like our old bands." On the other end of the spectrum, avoid putting all our styles in a blender and have it come out a mess was a big avoidance. Not to discredit all we have done in the past, but the LAST thing we want is to be compared to our past. We want the listener to like the music for the music, not hear "Big Day At the Crash Side Impact" and have false expectations. In my opinion, we sound nothing like any of our past projects.
You released your self-titled EP last year. Can you give some background on it?
We formed in the fall of 2010, and went right into the studio to track our first three demos with our good friend Trevor Reddell, drummer of Let Me Run. At that point, we were still maturing our sound, I remember "finding my voice" while tracking the song "We Beat The Bald Headed Champ," having never sang a lead line in my life. We had a lot of fun with the project. Of those songs, we carried one of them with us to our self titled EP which was tracked, mixed and mastered at Animal Sound Studio with our good friend Doug Rockwell. We spent a good part of 5 months writing just 6 songs for the EP, as well as starting to play out in NJ and PA. Fun fact, the song "There Is No Dana, There Is Only Zuul" actually hit a major rock radio station in Philadelphia 2 hours after it was test mastered. I was in the middle of a radio interview with my friends in Victory In Numbers, and I got an email from Doug saying the song Zuul just got mastered, and wanted me to hear it as a test, so i figured...let's put it on the radio and hear Speak Easy's first ever mastered song that way. Lyrically the album talks about relationships, failure, friendships, envy and revenge. It's been a blast for Steve and I to come up with lyrics that are important to our lives, things we've always wanted to get off our chest, etc.
What do some of your song titles mean on the EP?
The best part about being in Speak Easy is just hanging out with the guys at practice. We joke around, talk about war stories from the road, and come up with hilarious song titles. The only two song titles that was serious was "Grey Matters" which speaks to the deceit of a relationship and "Strike Three" which I don't even honestly want to publicly tell who this is about, it's enough for me to know who its about when I sing it. "Zuul" is from Ghostbusters, obviously! The other three are just funny inside jokes. Monkey usually comes up with our song titles.
What is the next step for Speak Easy?
There is quite a bit on the horizon for Speak Easy. Next month we head to PA to track three new demos with our dear friend Bruce Wiegner (formally of Victory In Numbers, currently Play Off Words). We have already begun pre-production with him, and we couldn't be happier to show our fans and friends alike where our music is headed. At this point, everything we do is DIY however our doors are always open to talk to management, labels and booking agencies. We are hoping to play as many shows as possible in 2012, whether it be in the tri-state area or touring. Its important that we have a strong pact with the band that we are doing this because we want to have FUN and enjoy playing music with each other.
Any plans to release a new album this year?
We are planning to continue to write until we are satisfied with a badass full length. I am VP/A&R at a record label called Radium, so we may release through my label, if all works out. Again, we are open to talk to any labels who want to be a part of what we are doing.
What are you listening to right now?
I've been really into the band Counterparts lately, so awesome. I haven't gone a day without jamming Born Without Bones since I heard of them. It's also been really refreshing to get into Balance And Composure, great live band, I would love for Speak Easy to play some shows with them.
Anything to say to the AP.net community?
Thank you for always being so supportive to us, and everything we've done musically inside and out of Speak Easy! We really hope you like our music and thank you for taking the time to read all this.
Where can people check you out online?
You can download our EP for free from our Facebook and Bandcamp sites.