Greyhaven: Influences and Mc Donald's

DURP - eZine from the progressive ocean

Interview

What about the releases/demos before this CD?

E: We had one demo tape in 1997 which I diligently tried to promote, and to some success. We sold quite a few actually and every review was utterly positive. it was all instrumental though so it was kinda hard to promote it outside progressive fanzines and such. We had alot of great support for that though given that it was just a 27 minutes all instrumental outing. With only two songs...heheh

What about the experiences of the members in other bands/projects?

Brian: No other bands of note, this is actually my first really serious band. I have worked on quite a few projects at the university, as well as written and recorded a ton of my own music (not professionally though).

E: I had played quite a bit throughout high school...and I've been in music all my life, but Greyhaven was the first band where I was playing exactly...or pretty damn close to what I wanted to. I have to say it's been a god-send to my life to be able to even get as far as we have as a band. Most of the creative musicians I know don't get to ever do this close to what they want...or have this great a band situation...and response to their music. I feel incredibly thankfull. This is pretty much where I got my start in getting used to the music industry as well...I've learned a lot...sometimes I think to much!

Nick: I've played in a bunch of different groups, from jazz to metal to blues. Most of those were purely for fun and musical satisfaction. Greyhaven is much more serious but much more rewarding as we've begun to accomplish great things. But, I'll always take time out to try and play with other people as I think it's critical for continuing musical development.

What is your definition of progressive rock?

Brian: I think the emphasis is on "progressive." I take "rock" to describe the instrumentation, rather than the style. "Progressive" means doing something different, and necessitates a willingness to challenge yourself as a musician.

E: I agree...but I think that it nessessitates a willingness to challenge yourself more as a writer/composer/songwriter...stricted musicianship is great but to me it gets tiresome. But I don't think that's what Brian meant anyways! Nevermind!

Nick: Progressive Rock is the enigma that hovers over us all………

Do you agree if people put you in this category?

Brian: Categorization is a necessary evil. I think that label is as close as it gets for us, but we don't have to like it!

E: heheh. I agree. In the past the few bands that were un-catigorizable or different we're the ones that usually or at least sometimes got very huge..eventually. Not so sure if that's true today. I don't really care what people call us. Almost everyone I talk to has their own thoughts and definitions about Greyhaven music anyways. I find that pretty cool.

Nick: Personally, I prefer to be called electro-spheric hard prog! Heh heh…….

You are mixing heavier elements with atmospheric keyboard sounds - your way to create an very unique style?

E: I guess. The synth stuff in the begining was sort of my bag...and it's grown into the rest of the band. I don't think we set out just to create something different...I more so think the individuals in this band, or that have been in this band are very independent thinkers.

Brian: As with many prog bands, we're not really tring to create and/or perpetuate any particular "style." We're just writing what comes to us from the heart and doing it in a way that pleases our ears. E: Ya. Totally agree. It sounds really cliche but we're not limiting ourselves to anything...whatever comes our way that we enjoy we take in and perpetuate that influence...and I don't just mean musical influences.

Nick: That's right! Next album I'm bustin' out the accordion!

I only had one thing to criticize - especially for the harder trax the vocal lines sounds like heard thousand times before.....

Brian: Just one!? Aw man, we love you! Seriously, I'm not quite sure what you mean, but if you mean that sometimes the vocals sound repetitive, then this maybe because all the tracks were written and recorded without a vocalist being around to affect the process. Granted, the guys did a spectacular job of planning ahead and creating space for vocal sections, but I think if I was around for the writing phase, things would have been different - maybe worse! Ha!

E: The vocals came out different than most bands I think because of the way the album was written. The material for our next CD...which is now in the arranging process is much different...We know more how to make the vocal sections really shine on their own...and we have written quite a few tracks together as a band. If you do mean that the vocals are sometimes predictable than I can't help you there! We aren't necessarily trying to make things over-complex and intricate. There are certain types of melody lines that just seem to work really well. Sometimes familiarity is a awesome thing?

Do you have an most favorite track on this CD?

Brian: I think Shards of Sky is my fav. I like the way it feels like you're on a journey.

E: agree...but I'd have to go for my favorite section of music, which comes in the mid-section of Mirror My Eyes. I went berserk on that sucka and Nick had a hell of time mixing it. Something like 10 different synth overdubs as well as 2 or three guitar parts layered...and that's before the vocals even enter! It's about extremity and excessivness! HAHA.

Nick: I'd have to say it's a toss up between Shards of Sky and Greyhaven. Shards is great because it's just so musical and massive. Greyhaven is such A different feel from the rest of the album. It's a very intimate and subtle Piece as opposed to the rather grandiose sound everywhere else.

What about the influence of other artists to you?

Brian: Vocally, Geoff Tate and Bruce Dickinson. Compositionally, Fates Warning would have to be my biggest musical influence.

E: In prog rock all the usuals...Yes to Dream Theater to Marillion to Rush. Then there's everything else, like Tangerine Dream...Edgar Froese being a personal idol, Depeche Mode, Bjork...another personal idol, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Testament, Type O Negative,etc.

Nick: Rush, DT, Metallica, Testament, Queensryche…..sound familiar?

What about your live experiences?

Brian: Actually, we've all performed live quite a bit, just not as Greyhaven. Up til now, it's been a matter of geography. For me, most of my performance experience is with classical music, y'know opera, musical theater, and art song (Hugo Wolf is the best! Well, Schumann too... aw shucks I can't decide!). This summer, we'll be playing gigs in the New England area after a month or so of rehearsal. I simply cannot wait!

E: It's gonna be nuts...actually doing this stuff live. For alot of the gigs it'll be a mix of a few tracks of the first CD plus 3-4 newer tracks for the next CD. At first we didn't think we were going to make it out live anytime soon because we hadn't found a keyboardist, but we are going to be working/playing with this guy M. E. Cahoon..and we'll also play some gigs with his band. This guy is a phenominal performer, keyboardist and singer so we're very happy to have hime along for the ride! I was just waiting for the day when I'd get to play guitar full time out stage! It looks like it's finally going to happen! HAHA!

Nick: Live performance is an aspect that we've not explored yet in our career. But, that's All going to change come Summer. Look for us in New England and at Powermad!

How would you like to develop in the future? Do you think about changing your style?

Brian: Funny you should say that! We've already undergone a transformation of sorts, and we've already got a LOT of new material to work on. It's hard to say what the new material is stylistically. it's still evolving and growing. All I know is that I think we've got a really strong musical unit, and as long as we stay true to ourselves - something which is very important to each of us - we'll be happy doing whatever style we're doing at the time.

E: Well...not to completely let the rabbit out of the hat, but it sort of sounds like metal...ala Iron Maiden Somewhere in Time mixed with repetitive synth lines ala Tangerine Dream....that is a VERY rough description but it's the closest that comes to mind. I'm happy now that we are fully rocking out as far as the new material goes...it's very driving stuff. Maybe we only have one or two softer/slower songs on the whole thing. It's still very much in the pre-planning stages though.

Nick: Styles change, attitudes shift, music evolves. It's all part of the process. Personally, I would hate to be stuck in one musical "place" for too long.

Where did you get your inspiration?

E: Very tough question. In terms of other musicians the ones I listed above are pretty paramount for me personally. In terms of the actual emotion in the music, and atmosphere/air I'd say it's a reflection of the collective personalities of the band.

Nick: I don't want to work at McDonalds.

Is each member of the band absolute satisfied with each song of the record?

Brian: In a word, no. I'm not happy with my vocal performances (recorded nearly two years ago!) of several of the songs. Now ofcourse I think I could do a much better job! But hey! Sometimes, you've just got to get it out there and move on.

E: Your never truely artistically satisfied until you die or completely burn out. I am happy with the way things are on the record because I tend to see things...as much as possible for just what they are. That's where we were at that point in time. So what? We're not there anymore...we're somewhere else, and tommorow we'll be somewhere even further from where we started. And we'll always be getting better as performers as well. Again, sound cliche but that's the truth for me.

Nick: We'd all pull our hair out (except for Brian) if we didn't let go and just Finally accept the songs as they are. It's great album, even with our perceived flaws. It's time to move on to newer material.

How would you describe your goals as musicians - both from the artistically and commercial side?

Brian: I just want to perform work that is stimulating and fulfilling, and to make a decent living from it. Being happy is more important than being rich or "successful."

E: heheh. Being rich is not a goal of mine...and nobodys getting rich playing this kind of music right now. However, I personally have a totally artisitic and then a more commercial/artistic side. The commercial artistic side makes me realise things that the plainly artistic side does not...such as: making a CD that will be successfull as opposed to something that may be very artistic, but meanders all over the place and doesn't hit the listener hard in the face. Alot of prog bands....including us suffer from not being able to write music that flows melodically and lyrically...as opposed to a really well written classical peice or pop song. Now mind you, that's an over-generalization, and it's good to have wierd shit going on...that's kind of what progressive music is all about, but I find the most rewarding songs for me are the ones that flow in and out of sections and riffs really smoothly. Another thing is a lot of prog bands aren't really into setting a mood and keeping it and developing it...it's more about fast changes and changing the mood. I guess we're trying to mutate those through those changes as much as possible. But, Shards of Sky is a good example of a tune that has some really smooth changes and some very harsh ones...all to good effect.

Nick: I just want to live life fully, with music being at the forefront. I'm More keen on following my heart than making the smartest "financial" Decisions. But, I'd also not like to work at McDonalds……

What about the reactions to the record so far and what about your original expectations?

Brian: So far, the response has been great! We were sure everyone was going to just trash us because the production and some of the performances aren't perfect. But most everyone has been able to look beyond that right into the songs, and they dig 'em. Perfect is boring!

E: Agreed. It hasn't really been out long enough for us to really give it any sort of litmus test...but every reaction so far is really really great. And something that is perfect is impossible in music. Perfection is in the eye of the beholder.

Are you in touch with other prog bands?

Brian: Ach@@! Not really, to our detriment I imagine, but we're trying to change that by playing live gigs, etc? , E, Nick?

E: I've been in touch with people around the world thanks to the emailing phenomenon. Lets hope this keeps growing...and as B says, playing out on the east coast will be very rewarding because there a lot of great bands out here...

Nick: We're all in the same boat It's nice to develop a comraderie with Other bands. It can only help…..


© 07/2000 Renald Mienert
DURP - eZine from the progressive ocean
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