Photo by Jim Arbogast
Right when you have a legend of players in the music industry Mike Portnoy, Dave LaRue, Neal Morse and Steve Morse and the front man Casey McPherson of the band Alpha Rev who album was one of my favorite last year, I’m totally in and Casey answered my questions.
1. What inspired Second Nature?
The desire to do a second record! And, I wrote a lot about turning away from consumerism, and being comfortable with showing those around you exactly who you are without all the trappings and masks.
2. How did the song-writing process come about for each song?
We wrote together via the studio and skype. We could usually finish a song structure in a day.
3. How did each band member contribute to it?
By being incredibly opinionated!
4. How was the recording process different to each person other projects they have done in the past?
We were in the cloud! We used Google drive to store our session files in. It made it really easy to see what everyone had done and add it to the session at each studio.
5. What do you hope people will get out of the album?
I hope people hear their own story in the songs.
6. Are there plans to tour the album in Australia?
Book me a ticket!
7. What inspires you now as a musician?
Ordinary people that are extraordinary.
8. What is next for the group?
Well, we’ll get through a tour and then probably make another record!
The Vernons are a great band from qld. This is what they had to say
1. Are you happy how things have gone so far?
Yes. With 2 EP’s under our belt, we’ve met a lot of great people and loyal fans and we are hoping to produce many more.
2. Do you think it’s all about the songwriting or does timing and the right place at the right time has a key getting your music out there?
– the thing about the music industry, these days, is that everything plays a part. Things like being a good musician and writing good songs are almost a given if you want to play music for a living, so of course, everything plays a part.
3. How important to you are music blogs in helping get your music out there?
We try to let our music do the talking but obviously we get a lot of help from blogs and reviewers to help publicise our music so that more people can hear it
4. What inspired you guys in the first place to give music a shot?
There was no real conscious decision to give it a shot, we have always just loved playing music and we want to share it with as many people as possible.
5. Having tools like Soundcloud does it make your job easier when trying to gain new listeners to your music?
Yes. In an ‘exposure’ point of view, definitely.
6. Do you think releasing EP’s and singles is a good way of keep momentum going before releasing a full length or spending time out of the spotlight writing songs is better?
The main thing we love doing is playing live music and in order to do that you need to release content. So for us, we feel we have to release singles and EP’s in order to play as many shows as possible
7. How does a song happen for you?
It usually comes from one member in the band and then we all play it, really. There is no real strict method.
8. Are there moments where your just not in the mood for writing music and need to do something else before you jump back into songwriting mode?
It’s not really a chore for us, we love doing it. We have written songs in some pretty unlikely and strange circumstances.
9. Do you think YouTube has help save the music industry?
10. Do you think being serious with your music has helped you and is it still fun to you guys from when you were starting out?
We don’t take ourselves seriously at all, but we like to take our music seriously. In that sense, we still enjoy it as much as we do from when we started.
Caitlin Harnett is a fantastic Aussie singer songwriter with an amazing new album coming out next month. She is an artist worth discovering
1. What was it like record in Canada?
It was an incredible experience that could have potentially been terrible! I had never met any of the people I was working with, I was basically just going off a record that I loved the and a couple of Skype calls! I feel so incredibly lucky to have worked with Dave Draves and Jim Bryson on this record. They have become my family now.
2. How did working in a different country help and inspire the recording?
It was really important to me to be somewhere completely different. It challenged and inspired me in a number of different ways. When you’re across the other side of the world, you kinda have to make sure you do your best… because once you get home, that’s it!
3. Was the recording process different to earlier releases?
It was very different, but I feel that each new recording process should be that way. I am forever changing and growing and my music moves with me. I was involved in the production on this record and unlike my earlier releases, we recorded everything live to tape. That was something that was very important to me.
4. Does song-writing get easier for you now or is it more or less still the same?
I don’t think it ever gets easier, necessarily, but I have certainly grown more comfortable with it. It takes a lot of belief in yourself. For me, writing is also something that I can’t help but do. It’s an outlet. When I’m feeling shitty about something, sitting down and writing helps me.
5. Do you have moments where you get a mental blank and just can’t write?
ALL of the time! It can be very frustrating and I have learnt to be patient with myself. I used to get pretty down about it.
6. Do you think YouTube helps the music industry?
Definitely! It’s just another avenue for people to listen to music. I don’t see anything wrong with that!
7. What buzz do you get from playing live?
It’s a pretty special feeling; when you play a show and everyone is silent. I don’t think there is anything better than that.
8. Do you do any thing special before playing a show live?
I usually eat pizza. Before and after.
9. What do you hope people will get from the album?
I hope that people will get a better understanding of who I am as a songwriter, musician and person. I feel like I’ve finally found a place and I really hope that everyone else gets it!
10. What to you is highlight so far?
This entire past year has been pretty special for me as a whole. Recording my album, touring Canada, playing shows in New York and coming home to release the record. It’s all been a highlight!
11. If you could have any body in a video clip who would it be?
Jackson Browne. Always.
Rosaline Yuen new track Clarity is a winner who she collobrated with two guys called Statement Haircut
Have a listen and check out
Cam Gilmour has been playing music in Australia for a long time first as a drummer for Behind Crimson Eyes then he drummed for Illy. He been doing solo stuff for a while now and with a new EP Anhedonia on the way I needed to know more.
https://camgilmour.bandcamp.com/ all physical orders come with a bonus zine featuring Cam’s written works!
1. How has being in a band and playing for someone else helped shape your own music?
Playing in Behind Crimson Eyes and touring with Illy and M-Phazes certainly had an impact on my music, but it swings both ways. For everything I regarded with those guys, there were also things I knew I wouldn’t and couldn’t be, and that is where your own sense of self has to kick in. To a large degree we are shaped by our experiences, though sometimes we tend to forget that and like to imagine that we plucked our artistic style out of thin air. The reality is, we are all borrowing, thieving little shits.
2. Do you find song-writing easier or is it more or less the same?
It’s definitely more difficult, but writing and producing your own music allows for a greater sense of ownership, which is what I was really lacking for a lot of years. I’ve often felt misrepresented by association throughout the past and that leads to disconnection with the projects you’re involved in and other ugly internal goings on. So, despite the extra effort to shoulder the entire load, there is something very lovely and liberating about it. It’s still important to know your limits and be willing to seek help or advice when needed
3. What inspires you now when writing music?
You know, I’ve been writing music for so long that it feels more like a compulsion than an inspiration. Occasionally I’ll get a frisson of excitement when writing – if I stumble upon an idea that seems positively brilliant. But those moments are scant and I spend most of my time just sifting through all the bile for trace amounts of awesome.
4. What was the inspiration behind the new EP?
I set out to write an instrumental EP that is hyper emotional and poignant, ‘cause I’m a sensitive starfish with a penchant for piano melody, string sections and hip-hop beats. Every artistic venture that you take on with any gusto carries with it the intention to create and present the best work you are capable of. This EP was no different in that respect.
5.Do you think YouTube has helped the music industry?
Absolutely! Second only to the crazy cat-lady industry.
6. Do you think it’s all about the song-writing or does the right place, right time has a lot to do with it?
I used to think it was completely about the music – ‘a good song will always be heard’ attitude – but I have learnt that you can’t underestimate the role of luck or the nature of the music industry as a capitalist machine that sometimes gives less of a fuck about artistic integrity or ingenuity and more about cashing in wherever it can. If you look at art through a wide lens, you’ll observe that talent often loses out to a pretty face, really progressive ideas gets shoved aside for no-traction trends with a three-week shelf life. There’s not much you can do about it. I have my heroes & heroines and my values about art and that’s about it. I’m genuinely happy for anyone who can make a living from it – it’s tough. I had to fairly dig myself out of bitterness to be able to say that with sincerity.
7. What do you hope people get out of the EP?
I hope people enjoy it, but moreover, feel inspired by it in some way. That’s really what art is all about, after all. It is supposed to set ablaze that ember in your belly and transform it into a flamethrower. Art has enriched my life in countless ways and my little EP (and the Zine of essays I am releasing with it) is just a contribution to this big ol’ world of ideas.
8. Do you have moments where you just can’t write?
Beginning work on any new song still feels like standing on the edge of impossibility and then having to walk forward. I have many, many days where I can’t write, but if I’m feeling brave, I sit at the piano and give it a shot anyway. Woody Allen once said that 80% of life is just showing up – it’s good advice. Other days I feel like it’s all I can do not to vomit from frustration and fatigue, because the artistic pursuit often feels like throwing out anchors as though they were nets. In times like this, it’s good to acquire some problems with definite, solvable answers. If you have a garden to weed or a bike to fix up, I’d advise it strongly. Don’t underestimate the aches and pains of manual labour in easing the psychological ones.
9. Will a feature length be in the cards?
If I’ve got the legs, absolutely! I’m compiling a secret list of poets, singers, musicians and rappers who I would like to work with on a full-length. When I figure out how that will all work I’ll let you know.
10. If you could have anybody in a video clip who would it be?
Geez. That’s a tough one… Okay, I’ve got it. I’d cast Tony Abbott. He’d be playing the role of a flamboyant transgender, Muslim, vegetarian refugee living in Kalgoorlie. Annnd… Action!
Flying Colors – Second Nature (Music Theories Recordings/Mascot/ADA/Warner Music)
Second Nature is the latest album by Flying Colors and if you are looking for a well-produced and performed album then you have got it here. The opening track Open Your Eyes has some amazing musicianship, the guitar playing is first rate and the song is well written. The band is a supergroup featuring Mike Portnoy, Dave LaRue, Casey McPherson, Neal Morse and Steve Morse. Mask Machine shows off the song writing, vocals and lyrics. Bombs Away add solid song writing vocals and musicianship. The Fury Of My Love is the ballads track off the album the vocals shine as does as the piano playing and musicianship. Songs like Lost Without You are kind of the ballads tracks where the musicianship, song writing and vocals come full force. Highlights the band amazing talent and how each player works together really well and shows off the solid production as well. One Love Forever has kind of European almost celtic tinge to the track and Casey vocals alongside the amazing guitar playing shine here. Cosmic Symphony end of the album well with a three parts to the song and the musicianship and song writing shine here. This is a well-produced album with some legendary players who have made an album worth checking out
Karen Waldrup new song is Sharing The Night together it is a cover of a classic song from the 70’s. Karen is a fantastic singer and her take on the song is excellent. It is well performed gives it a new life on the song. She has emotion, heart and soul all into one. The song grabs you and the musicianship is excellent. Can’t wait to hear what she does next.
I’ve been a bit slack on the site, I’m in a crossroads right now. I have a few reviews to put up on the site which I will be doing next week.
But don’t worry folks I ain’t going anywhere