A: Initially, it was started by Rich, the lead vocalist and guitar player. He did a solo acoustic thing from about 2005-2008 in coffeehouses in New York City and on Long Island. It got pretty popular fairly quickly. Around 2008 we started touring and heading in more of a rock direction and incorporating a full backing band. The band's current lineup was completed in October of 2008 and in mid 2009 we began writing as a four-piece band in a collaborative way. So, it was a gradual thing. The result is our upcoming EP "The Resolution", which will be available at shows and on iTunes, as well as a host of other digital retailers on June 6th this year. (6/6/10)
Q: What musically are you guys influenced by?
A: We all listen to completely different music, and we're into different aspects of music. Rich is very much into classical training, Mike is an audio engineer at a fairly large studio here on Long Island, Eric's background is a blend of pop and classical both vocally and instrumentally on the keys, and Pete is very much from a raw rock/groove background and is into constant experimentation. As far as our upcoming EP is concerned, since it's our first real foray as a collaborative band, it's more influenced by what we were listening to when we wrote it. Dredg was a huge influence at the time, as well as Muse. Both of those bands continue to be a constant source of inspiration. Their albums floor us every time we listen to them. Rich and Pete grew up listening to a lot of metal, so on the track "Epiphany" you hear more of a heavier influence, similar to say, Tool, with the kick drum syncopation elements similar to Pantera. Vocally, we're more about subtle layers and harmonies building on a solid melodic foundation, rather than any scale-jumping, haphazard sort of melody. So we take a lot from some of the older pop vocalists in that respect, like Peter Gabriel, Phil Colins or Tom Petty. Eric is very much into theatrical music, so to speak, and he adds a lot of theatricality with different textures and sounds from his synthesizer, which give the music more character. For instance, the soft pad he uses on the beginning of the last track on the EP, "The Lion and the Lamb" eventually goes into a dry piano sound, then becomes a bellowing organ, and finishes with a dirty sort of synth layer playing the lead melody of the outro while the organ is underneath, belting out the supporting chords. Oh, yeah, and uh.. Mike plays bass.
Q: Tell us about your upcoming EP "The Resolution".
Well, it's our first endeavor as a full band in terms of collaboratively writing. We were doing some touring at colleges in the northeast last fall, and we had a few rough experiences on the road with not only each other, but the lifestyle and some of the gigs, etc. So we sat down in a dunkin donuts the morning before we headed home and we kind of resolved to not give up on this and not let the hard times put us out. We were tired of playing music we thought people would want to hear on the radio, for a paycheck. We all have this really intense passion to play music and we want to make it our lives' work, but we decided we were gonna go about it a different way. A more direct way- from the heart. So, after coming home and splitting ways amicably with our then lead guitarist, we decided to stay strong and start writing new material together. The four of us survived that experience and the ensuing process of finding our new sound and chemistry together, and we just dug in and wrote 5 amazing songs, and re-worked another song which we all loved and happened to be on a previous EP. We also had a lot of fun in the studio experimenting with different instrumental segue tracks, 3 of which are on the EP, sort of bridging the EP together in 3 acts. That was a lot of fun to experiment with. For instance on the intro track, which is also the title track, at the end of the track, leading into the first full length song, we played paint buckets and recorded it as part of the percussion. "The Resolution" is really our first musical statement to the listening world. It will be available on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, Pandora and a bunch of other music retailers and sites on June 6th this summer. (6/6/10) Hard copies will also be available at all of our shows and at select local retailers, with a special bonus track that won't be available online. We're excited to tour on it and see what the response to it is.
Q: Any special packaging for it?
A: We had a good friend of ours, Caroline Faraca, do the artwork for the EP. Pete had come up with the concept and did a rough sketch of his idea, and then we just entrusted Caroline to make it 10 x's better, which she did haha. She also does all of our body art.
Q: If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would it be and why?
A: We'd love to tour with Dredg, Bayside or Paramore at this stage right now. Don't get me wrong, there are a ton of other bands we'd be totally stoked on playing/touring with, but those three are just constant inspirations from where we are now as a band. It's stories like theirs that really help keep bands like us going.
Q: What are your plans for the summer?
A: We're going to release this EP with a short series of release shows and parties. Then we're going to continue playing our asses off at as many shows as possible. Right now we've got a date on Warped Tour lined up on our home turf, at Nassau Coliseum on July 17th. That's gonna be amazing. We're all totally stoked on that. It's a literal dream come true. We were invited to do that by East Coast Independent and we'll be playing on the Kia Motors/Kevin Says stage that day and hanging out, meeting fans and selling merch afterward. We've got another festival date lined up with some amazing musicians from New York at The Great South Bay Music Festival, on July 11th. This festival is like the contemporary Woodstock of Long Island. So we're psyched for that. We just scored a bunch of sponsorships and endorsements from Shine Drums, Silverfox Drumsticks, Orange Amps, Curt Mangan Strings and Altec-Lansing Electronics, so we're super pumped about playing our new gear all summer long. We've got a bunch of shows lined up right now locally as well and we hope to meet as many new people as possible and make them friends and fans.
Q: If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
A: The thing about the music industry is that there are almost split personalities within it. There are really two sides- There are the mainstream powerhouses and then there is the underground. The underground is alive and well, and constantly springing forth amazing art and talent. The mainstream, not so much, haha. It's pretty much just a recycling of acts, from what I see and hear on T.V. and on the radio. And I mean, it's really rough for musicians like ourselves, that physically couldn't be doing anything else, to sit there and say well, we don't want to compromise, so we'll keep playing in dive bars to a few people a week and work 9-5's for the rest of our lives. But there is a middle ground. Each band has one and we've found ours. So I guess the one thing I'd change about the music industry would be to have the bigger labels, radio stations and music television channels allow more sincerity from their artists and less repetition.
Q: What does AP.net mean to you?
A: AP.net has been such an amazing resource to us, not just as musicians, but as people who love music. As well as people who love the personalities behind the music. The interviews with some of our favorite bands have really been inspirational, because they allow us to see the personalities behind the songs; the minds that created the art we love. Most of them are just ordinary people with extraordinary talent and character.
Q: On the road, there must be a lot of waiting. What do you guys do during downtime?
A: iPods are essential. Books come in handy, too. We're actually all really good friends haha, believe it or not. Eric, Rich and Pete went to high school together. So we do spend a lot of time conversing and exchanging ideas with one another. Recommending music and literature. Telling funny stories. So, the company is really what we fall back on when we've got nothing to do. Although time apart is very important, also. That's what sleep is for!
Q: What is something that most fans don't know about you guys?
A: That we're all pretty mysterious... haha.
Q: Do you feel that your band has "made it"?
A: Any band or creative person that unwaveringly does what they have a passion to do, despite the endless efforts of everything around them attempting to conform them, has "made it". Do what you love, love what you do and never give that up for anything. To us, that is true success.