It’s so much fun to say, “Rock.” I wasn’t prepared for that little joy when setting out on this journey. Makes me smile from way down deep in my belly.
It’s pretty funny to watch happens in the space of the next milli-second, as people try to figure out where to go with that unexpected answer. It’s still awkward to me. But also,that answer is pretty dang incomplete. How many kinds of Rock Music can you name? Test yourself. Click here to see the Wikipedia list of Rock Genres. How many did you name?
Anyway. I wanted to take just a second and talk to you about musical influences and styles, and give you a better idea of what you might hear at the concert. First and foremost, if you haven’t listened to Phil’s voice, take a second and listen to the clips on our home page. And you can hear more of his work on his website here.
So, definite Britpop influence. Good bit of Blues/Roadhouse as well. Some of the acoustic versions would fit on the Sirius Coffeehouse Rock station. Some of the larger songs are more suited to Cinematic Soundtrack. Most have a tinge of Melancholic Soul that we both naturally gravitate towards, and are frequently trying not to fall into!
As we work on each song, we usually started with an idea to write about, and a songlist about 5-10 songs long, which includes ideas about various aspects that we are thinking of including in the new work. Some songs have been chosen for point-of-view or lyrical content. Some for a musical style, instrumentation, or beat. One or two for production ideas. Usually we’d start with a basic few, then Phil would add one and we’d flip open the mac to youtube to listen, and then I’d add maybe one or two more ideas. Back and forth like that until we thought we pretty much had a concept design. Then we’d use that list to remember some of the sound ideas we had in wanting to generate a song.
One song I remember choosing for a single really low, rich, bass note sound that I wanted to build into a song. I think it was that David Gray song, “Please Forgive Me” – the Hammersmith live version from 2006, at the Apollo Theatre. Listen in at 4:30-4:35 ….or maybe it was that cool bass rip-up with the dead space drop-out that Lifehouse does in “Had Enough” on this video from 2:37-2:38. OK, so you can’t hear it all that well in the youtube stripped out audio version. Trust me. Crank that piece off a CD through a set of Bose with a decent sub-woofer and that one single second of music will literally move right through you. Powerful. Inspiring.
So, I was in my diggin’-on-rich-bass phase, and I challenged Phil to see if we could replicate that sound in music in the studio on our equipment. Could Dave do that for us at YellowDOG? Turns out, the answer is Yes. Should have known. Dave can do just about anything we can think up and then come up with 3 more ideas to try before tracking. And you can hear that influence idea – the deep, rich bass – all through “Evolution for the Heart” on AMBERGRIS. (Coming on iTunes – 10.11.12)
You’ll probably be able to pick out some of our most common influences as you listen to AMBERGRIS - Beatles, Coldplay, The Fray, Rob Thomas/Matchbox Twenty, Sara Barielles, Dave Matthews, Joe Cocker, Radiohead, Switchfoot/Jon Foreman, Brandi Carlile, John Mayer, Train, Third Day, David Gray, Stevie Ray Vaughn, U2, Eddie Vedder/Pearl Jam, Lifehouse, Phil Collins/Genesis/Peter Gabriel, Glen Hansard, the Commitments, anything Clapton. But there were a few outliers that might surprise you (I got more than one funny look from Phil as I produced a song list) Slash, Grieg, Muse, Elgar, Santana, Mozart, John Newton, Zeplin, Barber. (Slash? Really? Yeah. Check out “Starlight, feat. Myles Kennedy” if you get a chance.)
Pretty varied list. And there are lots more. Phil, who’d I leave off from your list?
The point is, ideas for art….the creative elements that we use to influence our own creative processes – are taken from the world around us. And the world around us includes those influences above, but they mainly include you. Our friends and family. It’s your stories and your influence on us that gives us pause to think, and write, and create.
So thank you for being part of the bigger picture.
And I’ll leave you with this thought tonight…..I’ve been listening to their new album, North, quite a bit this week, but this older song from Matchbox Twenty’s, More Than You Think You Are, seems just perfect for the day….
“We all know there’s always something tearing you apart
It’s always so much longer than you counted on
And it hits you so much harder than you thought
But you don’t worry, you don’t worry
Cause darling, you’ve got so much soul
Darling, you’ve got so much soul.”
Yes, you do, my dear VeePs. So much soul. I can see it.
“Love draws a bigger circle.”