Chris Eves and The New Normal are a Syracuse, New York based Rock-Jam act. I recently reviewed their debut album ‘Find Your Way.’ I was immediately impressed with this unique blend of Alternative-Rock, Jam and Pop and wanted to share with my readers. While most of Chris Eves and The New Normal fans are from the northeast, they are looking to broaden their audience. If you haven't heard of Chris Eves and The New Normal yet, check them out on spotify or #1 on the Reverbnation International Jam Charts. https://open.spotify.com/artist/5cJA9GZa8d5yduDZ0dCxtu?autoplay=true&v=A
From the opening song “Remember To Forget,” I was intrigued at the depth and quality of this album and the band that recorded it. “Remember To Forget” has powerful vocal qualities from Chris Eves and a hard progressive riff that takes this song into Jam territory. I will say that this song is my favorite out of the entire album and makes for a great first track. This song captivates its listeners and draws them, inviting further exploration.
“Walking On Wire” keeps the great vocal qualities going; something that can be severely lacking, specifically in the Jam world. This songs approach is more alternative-rock based but is fun and catchy with lyrics like, "maybe you and me are always walking on a wire, and with every step it seems we are only getting higher.” This sentiment is heartfelt and a great example of the writing techniques used on this album. I could see this song being used in a larger capacity and it also has some viable commercial value.
Another song that caught my attention was the title track of this album ‘Find Your Way” that begins with a clear and precise guitar intro from Jay Lock, solo guitarist for The New Normal. This song would be a great live track and could allow for some extreme improvisation on stage; in the interview below we discuss walking the line between improv and structure. "You got to be just a little bit crazy to make it through another normal day," are some of the most poignant lyrics within this album and shows the open-minded feeling that this band represents.
Again, Chris Eves and The New Normal take a different approach to their sonic sound with “The Chains You Wear” and go more alt-country with a heavy slide riff laid over the track. The lyrical qualities remain remarkable, compared to today’s pop country landscape and make this song original and different than a lot of the Southern Rock-Country bands but still very reminiscent of the Black Crowes or even, The Zac Brown Band.
“Fall” is another song that gets stuck in my head and the driving guitar makes me want to hear an exploratory and long solo, the only thing I think is missing from this recording. Drummer Sean Benz, highlights this track with impressive musicianship and keyboardist Mike D’Ambrosia plays a pivotal role in not only this song but the entire album adding rousing piano licks wherever he can. “Fall” uses Classic Rock chord structures and melodies to make the sound relatable but still remains original and imaginative.
“The New Normal” and “Flown Away” accentuate the final tracks on this album and stay steady and slow throughout. They are both good choices and well recorded, something that stands out when listening to this album in my headphones. Mike Spardaro holds it down on bass throughout the entire length of this recording but can really be felt in the backbeat at the end of this album.
While the album ‘Find Your Way’ doesn't necessarily break any rules, it does find new and interesting ways to combine song structures and heartfelt lyrical connections. This album is very relatable to many musical listeners and Chris Eves and The New Normal seamlessly integrate many genres of music from Jam to Alt-Rock. I believe ‘Find Your Way’ is a great platform for this band to build upon and grow exponentially. Below is a short interview with Chris Eves himself where we discuss this latest album and the future evolution of The New Normal.
Interview with Chris Eves From Chris Eves and The New Normal:
RA-Can you describe your sound, or what genres have influenced you as you wrote and recorded ‘Find Your Way’?
CE-Our sound is the sum total of the influences and personal style each member brings to the table. We all have very diverse influences and approach the music from unique vantage points. Everything from: Grateful Dead, Nine Inch Nails to Jazz greats like, John Coltrane and Miles Davis, have shaped our collective sound. One unifying band we all grew up listening to and seeing live is Phish. They were definitely the catalyst for us wanting to play improvised music. I think the five of us though, strive to go beyond our influences and are always trying to cultivate our own unique voice individually and collectively. Jay, for example, is a very different guitarist than I am and certainly has a very unique voice that’s all his own. A lot of times he’ll play something that inspires me to do something completely different than I would have otherwise. Especially in improvised music, each band member’s voice really comes through and steers the direction of the sound.
RA-The transitions and song structures in songs like, “Remember To Forget” sounds very jammy, much like moe. or some of the other progressive Jam bands from the North East. Has this musical landscape shaped your musical evolution?
CE-Absolutely. I grew up in Central New York where moe. is from and we listened to them a lot. Chuck from moe.’s sister was our high school Spanish teacher. I’ve always been a fan of progressive music that has written out sections and jam sections, and that’s able to weave it all together into a story. The Dead tunes like, Terrapin or Help/Slipknot/Franklins, were always my favorite. moe. also inspired me to write in that direction for sure. It’s pretty cool to now be in the band Floodwood with Vinnie from moe. after listening to them for so many years.
RA-What does the New Normal mean to you?
CE- I think it’s just a mantra to be yourself. It’s for anyone who’s ever felt like they don’t fit in or been a little left of center. Normal is just a point of view and just because you might be weird according to someone else, that shouldn’t stop you from being authentic and living the life that makes you happy. Weirdos are always welcome with us!
RA-What have been some of your greatest musical accomplishments to date?
CE-I’ve been lucky to have a lot of musical accomplishments in my career. Some of the personal highlights are sitting in with the Zac Brown Band at SPAC and jamming with Jon Fishman live.
RA-Any plans for summer festivals or tours?
CE-We are working on both right now and are looking forward to announcing some soon
RA-While it is hard to add layers of improvisation to studio albums, does your band stick to the song structures or improvise live?
CE-We try to strike a balance between playing the song and jamming. In the studio, for this record, I was happy that we were able to capture a lot of our jams. “Remember to Forget”, “Find your Way”, and “Fall” were all one take. When we’re live every night is different and we’re still evolving in the way we improvise. Some nights we want to play “Green and Blue” completely structured as a stand-alone song, and some nights it turns into a 20 minute funk jam. I think we’ve just started scratching the surface of where our jams can go and that’s exciting.
RA-Can you explain your lyrical process? Who writes the songs or is it a collective environment?
CE-For this record, I wrote all the Lyrics and it’s the toughest part for me. I just try to write down thoughts on a particular subject independently of the music so I’m not locked into a specific structure at first. When I’ve got a good amount of material, I start trying to play music that fits the ideas and hopefully get the puzzle pieces to fit. I try to be open to lyric ideas all the time so, I keep a bunch of notes in my phone just in case I think of something while I’m out for a run or grocery shopping or, whatever.
RA-Many bands that relate themselves with Jam music walk the line between different genres. How do you see yourselves adding a unique aspect to the Jam world.
CE- I hope that even though we extend our songs live, that they are still relatable to everyone. The song always comes first for us and it should stand alone as catchy and meaningful. We also try to put a lot of attention into the vocals and harmonies. I think that emphasis on songwriting and vocals gives us a unique aspect.
RA-What are your future goals and how do you think you will evolve to get there?
CE-Our short-term goals are to keep writing, recording, and evolving our live show. Playing for more people and extending our touring are also a priority. I think it just takes a lot of hard work and a high level of commitment. We live music 24/7 so it’s more a journey than a single goal we set for ourselves that’s off in the distance.
RA-Any crazy band/road stories you would like to share with us? (Anything goes)
CE-Honestly we’re pretty chill and not too crazy. Our drummer Sean usually finds a casino after the show and we hear about how much money he won the next day. We never hear about how much money he loses though…
Thanks Again to Chris Eves and The New Normal,
I first had the privilege of reviewing The Cubes’ debut EP, Fall Out Last year. I fully enjoyed how refreshing and original the music was, so was happy to review it again for the band. The extra incentive this time was the opportunity to interview the multi-talented lead singer , Jacob Solarek. The Cubes are an Indie rock trio based in Liverpool , England. Solarek had formed as part of several projects he had written and performed on his own.
The lead singer/guitarist forged The Cubes out of a jamming session between friends back in 2012. After several line-up changes. He eventually settled with current members Chris Jones ( Bass) and Danny Kirkham (Drums.) The trio have appeared at such notable venues in the City as The Cavern, Zanzibar, The Lantern Theatre and Scoop event in the City of Liverpool College. They have continued to grace the famous City with further appearances at Liverpool Sound City Festival too in their quest to raise a profile.
Fall out is the five-track debut EP from the band that was recorded at Crosstown studios in Liverpool, which is available via Spotify and Deezer. The EP itself shows promises of an exciting prospect emerging from a city enriched in musical history. The listener is treated to a half-hour mix of poetic lyrics and a well-honed rhythm section that combines blues, pop, funk and acoustic fused with Solarek’s raw outpourings through every syllable that his tongue stretches beyond.
In opener Can you , This is no more evident in Solarek's stuttering sneer combined with a hypnotic riff that reflects the theme of forgiveness which climaxes with an exquisite solo that underlies his talents on vocals and guitar. This is a sweet and charming track to open proceedings with a catchy tune that will leave listeners humming it all day.
Next is the reminiscent About you, A Bob Dylan- esque acoustic track that evokes an image of somebody singing it on a beach. This gentle song will leave you drifting away with the waves. The spoken intro embeds well with the subtle guitar lines that creates more rounded melodic track that shares similarities with RHCP.
The upbeat chords of Too Bad sees Solarek contemplate the woes of a past lover that resonates with a tasty slide guitar that feels like a farewell song. The band express a versatility on guitar to create licks that follow basic chord patterns that empower contrasting tones, which is sampled here. This really feels like resolution!
On the standout track, Ron’s blow The talented Jones and Kirkham showcase their versatile range with a collective texture of thick bass and steady drumming that initiates building to a big finish with stark imagery that resolves with a dual bass/guitar solo that dazzles.
On the final track, Funky is four-minutes of what the title suggests converged with Solarek's pleas on vocals. The great pedal effects add definition to the young band’s arsenal of talents. This wraps up an enjoyable first outing for the band that can only grow going forward packed with the volume of lyrical content, polished production and musical craftsmanship that serves as a precursor for a promising future.
For fans of Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, RHCP.
You can listen to track tasters HERE
The Cubes can also be found on several social media accounts.
https://en-gb.facebook.com/the.cubes.liverpool/ This is the band’s more accessible page that creates foresight into all the latest news, exclusive live videos, tracks , gig updates , and a thorough Biography on The Cubes inception.
https://twitter.com/jacobsolarek1 Listeners can follow the singer for updates on the band’s music.
https://jacobmusiccom.wordpress.com/ This is the new site that is currently under construction. Listeners still can watch Solarek’s solo videos performing at mic nights and covers. It certainly I worth a browse into Solarek’s other works.
Interview Jacob Solarek
Good Afternoon Jacob, How did you meet the Old School Project?
Good afternoon, I met the Old School Project thanks to you and your previous review of our EP. You enabled me to find few more places to promote our music. And the Old School Project is the first one I tried.
Could you please tell us how the cubes were formed, and why you wanted to start a band?
It’s a long story, but I’ll try to make it short. It all goes back before 2012 when I was living in Poland. Since I started playing the guitar I dreamed about being and playing in a band. So I tried to move towards beginning some sort of collective. And I went through a lot of collectives since then. Some of them were playing music I wouldn’t associate with myself very likely, but I thought it’s a good practice. Finally I started playing with one of my good friends as a duo, rather practicing some songs together and jamming than playing any gigs. Though, we’ve had similar interests and inspirations in music, so it was good and we’ve had a great time. As time went past we got the rest of the band and started gigging at some local events. Soon I realized that it wasn’t really what I wanted to do initially. I always wanted to sing and play the guitar in more power-trio oriented band. With the band I was in, it was possible to play the guitar and write music, but I thought it’s not what I aimed for. Therefore I started jamming with a couple of other friends, but it was rough. We hadn’t got any songs we jammed some free ideas and couple of covers. And this is the beginning of the cubes, though it wasn’t called like that. It wasn’t called at all. And then I moved to UK.
Whilst being in UK, I started writing my songs and performing them by myself. And then when I was going home for holidays I’d practiced this stuff with my old mates. Eventually we played few events in Poland. Though, I was living in England, so there was no way that this band was gonna last. Therefore, I started a new line up made up by friends from Uni in Liverpool. Then it started to become more like what I imagined as a band. Though, since then line up has changed again.
How would you describe your sound to new listeners?
A mixture of rock, indie, jazz, funk and blues. It’s rock in its core, but our influences coming out of us in many other styles; so it’s hard to stick a label to it.
Your music is eclectic in it incorporates various styles, Who have been your biggest influences in music?
There have been plenty of influences. To start off I have to mention Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Queens of the Stone Age, Motorhead and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Though, each one of us plays jazz. I play now with the Edge Hill University Big Band, Chris with Zingaro and Dan sometimes steps in for the EHU Big Band’s drummer. So as you can see we have jazz background too. If you consider jazz influences, I’d say Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and Herbie Hancock.
What are your aims in the music industry?
Just to play, write, record new music and have fun.
How difficult is it for unsigned acts, like yourself, to break into today’s industry?
I think it’s very difficult. It’s difficult to gain fans and build up a following , gather money for promotion, rehearsals, recording or anything else to do with the band is another story. Also getting gigs is not that easy. The venues usually want to make sure that we’ll sell some tickets, so they can earn. Whereas we don’t earn anything etc. You have to take care for everything by yourself. But from the other side it’s so much easier thanks to the internet. People, who could not hear about you, now can easily listen to your music etc. They can find you wherever you are, anytime!
You have been writing your own material for a while now, what inspires you to write lyrics?
Everyday’s life. Things I come across in everyday life. Situations, places, people.
How would you describe your song writing process?
First of all, I write down the ideas I have for lyrics. Then usually, I’d leave them for some time. I often change lyrics, add new lines or mix something what I wrote in the past with something new. I often have some musical ideas for lyrics that I wrote in the past and I like to try them together. If I think it fits, I stay with it and develop further. If I think it doesn’t, I change, rewrite lyrics or look for different musical ideas. Sometimes it takes a long time before I have a ready song, Sometimes it goes quickly.
You recorded your EP “ Fall Out” at Crosstown Studios in Liverpool, What impacts does the studio have on your recording process? And how important is it to self- produce your own music?
The main impact on me in the studio is to finish everything you want to do before time will run out and you’ll have to arrange additional sessions, which are linked with spending additional money. So it’s always time pressure in the studio. Also , it’s like you have to give yourself for 100% each track you’re recording, because again with limited budgets, you don’t want to mess things up. And it’s only up to us whether we’ll be happy with songs we’re recording or not. If we screw something up, we screw something up.
If it comes to self-producing my own music, it’s great to being able do what you want to do without anybody telling me how to record my own songs. But you have to know something about the song’s structure and music in general.
When I was looking for a studio, I didn’t think too much about a producer. I’ve always had a pretty good idea how I want these songs to sound before we entered the studio. Nevertheless we’ve hit great studio engineer/producer, who is Jon Lawton. We share similar music interests and we have mutual understanding. So we were open for little suggestions and solutions Jon offered.
You have performed at some memorable venues like The Cavern , Lantern , The Liverpool Sound City Festival etc, What confidence does this bring to you?
I don’t look into playing these memorable venues like they guarantee you something or make you feel sure about your career goals. It doesn’t mean that I’m not happy that I played there. I’m very happy and I appreciate I’ve had a chance, but it’s like with any other place. You should try your best, no matter where. Otherwise, it wouldn’t make sense.
What is a typical show for The Cubes?
This is a difficult question. I don’t know. And I think there’s nothing like a typical show, unless you consider not playing covers. Each show you play is different. When I play just by myself I don’t even make a set list. I decide what song I’m gonna do as the first one straight before I’m getting on and then I decide what’s gonna be next. Though, I can’t do it with the cubes. So we usually decide and make a set list. But what is typical for us is to be as good as possible, enjoy playing our music, shred some good guitar solos and go with the flow.
Do you have any venues you’d like to play at? And anyone you’d like to share the stage with?
I’d like to play Studio 2 on Parr Street ( Liverpool). I have just seen couple of my friends playing there with other acts and they were really good. Also, recently I was at Band on the Wall in Manchester and it seemed to be like a good venue to play. When I was a teenager I always dreamed about playing Woodstock festival in Poland (now the name of the festival has changed to Pol’ and’ Rock Festival), but we didn’t get through the eliminations ha ha. Why not Glastonbury? This would be great. Though at the end of the day we’re happy to play every fair gig we come across.
I’d like to share the stage with Queens of the Stone Age, Red Hot Chili Peppers or Foo Fighters. These are one of my favorite bands. But again there are lots of local bands/artists I’d like to share the stage too.
I understand you are making a new LP, How is that progressing?
It’s progressing right way. I can tell that we made a good beginning. We have 5 tracks recorded and now we need to find time to record the rest.
And Finally, What’s next for The Cubes?
The next step is definitely releasing the LP, getting gigs and just playing.
A Second Life is an Alternative Rock band from New York, who were formed over a bond of friendships and love of the NY music scene. The overall sound of the band is described as U2 meets Kings Of Leon dipped in 30 seconds to Mars. Their goal is to create thought provoking music that evokes emotions. The current line up consists of Chris Damphouse ( Vocals) Dan DelVecchio (guitars and vocals), Max Ross (guitar, piano, vocals), Justin Scheidling (drums), Dan O’Dowd (bass), and Rob Mino (guitar). The band will be supporting the release of their debut EP Civil Life with a tour across the U.S , as well as several festival appearances during the Summer 2018.
I shall give the reader a quick review of the new five- track Civil Life which will give listeners a good opportunity to hear the band’s melodic and evocative music close up.
Just Whisper is a lovely opener packed full of melodious charm. Damphouse’s vocals blend against a backdrop of harmonious power chords and backing vocals when the chorus kicks in. This track works well as a breakout hit for radio airplay.
You’re Missing From Me is a more upbeat track that opens with an atmospheric buzz of electric guitar . It is a track that is full of hooks and subtle transitions into melodic guitar lines and bright bridges that supplement the vocal qualities that sing about been apart. This is easily the standout track for me because of the huge singalong chorus and guitar techniques with the pedal that are added to give it some definition.
Civil War is an anthemic acoustic track about finding a resolution to conflict. This track illustrates the band’s influences of U2 and 30 seconds to mars within it. The small melodic patterns and intimate vocals are sung against a backbeat of rhythmic drumming and acoustic guitar. The track slowly builds towards the chorus at the end with heartfelt singing. I feel this is another good track that would appeal to a teenage audience and fans of the aforementioned bands.
Beautiful Distraction is another acoustic track that is reflective in the title (beautiful)! The lyrics are poetic and strike strong imagery against the backdrop of expressive pop rock. The band have the ability to know how to write tracks with swirling melodies and beats. The addition of backing vocals gives the songs an extra edge, along with the harmonious guitar lines with an effects pedal is like the music equivalent of painting on a canvas.
You ends with a change in direction. It is an edgy and up-tempo track that has these toes tapping! The track begins with a thick , funky bass line that explodes with a continuous crunchy riff and catchy chorus and distorted vocals that has all the ingredients to be a smash hit. You can’t help dance to
A Second Life will next be performing at The Bitter End in New York, NY on May 12th before an appearance at Montauk Music Festival on May 17th in Montauk, NY
You can find more information on the band via their social media accounts:
A Second Life Interview
Good morning, Could you tell us how you met The Old School Project?
We found you on Indie music bus. Nick is amazing the way he supports us bands!
Could you tell me about how the band formed and what lead you to start a band?
I had taken a year off and really missed the music. I decided to learn Guitar and found a great Teacher (Dan Delvecchio). We had so many of the same ideas I realized it was time to make music again!!!
Who would you say the biggest influences on your musical career so far?
It is a hard question. I’d say my Dad and Brother Max. Also, the music that inspires me comes from everywhere. But I’d say U2 , 30 seconds to Mars, Kings of Leon to name a few!!!
You say you write music to evoke emotions, how do you feel you can achieve this in your writing?
It comes from my heart , it’s a fire I feel. Each song has a meaning to me. Every moment in my life I can remember music to accompany it!
What are the reasons behind the name A Second Life?
It’s simple really . It means a second shot at this whole music thing!!
What are your goals moving forward in the industry?
To be heard, to share my music with as many ears that will listen. I don't do this for fame or fortune . I do it because I simply love music.
You have a huge following on platforms like Spotify, How important do you think stations like them and TOSP are for unsigned acts trying to get noticed?
They are insanely important!!!! Back only a few years ago indie artists would have to have a record deal to be heard . Now we can do all of it ourselves. In the end it's just like running a company you need hard work and consistency !
You recently released your Debut EP called Civil Life . What is the idea behind the title, and what was the recording process like during the making of it?
The Idea is it's all about living a life to be proud of, a life my kids would be proud of. We record with Rob Freeman at Audio Pilot studios in NJ. He’s simply awesome he doesn't let us ever settle for …ehhhh! When we suck he tells us ! if you can't take constructive criticism you should not make music.
You will be performing at the four day event Montauk Music Festival beginning on May 17th, how excited are you to be performing there?
We can't wait!!!! it's a beautiful location with people who want to hear new music!!!
What will are fans likely to expect from your appearance?
A real genuine band that brings it every time they play. We are here for them , we want them to feel what we feel!
Is there any dream venue, or festival, you’d like to perform at?
Its right on Long Island , I want to play a Northwell Theater, Jones Beach. Its right on the water. I’ve seen most of my favorites play there. To stand under the stars and share my music with a crowded hometown Theater would be priceless . I’d play for free !!!
And Finally, what is next for A Second life?
To keep pushing, to keep putting our lives to music, to enjoy the process, to enjoy the ride!!!
Up-and-coming Jam-Funk act from Washington DC, Surprise Attack, have recently reached out and we are happy to reveal and announce our Full EP Review, Interview and Artist Spotlight here atwww.jambandpurist.com
Surprise Attacks most recent EP release entitled, 'Water' is an elemental achievement and coincides with their previous releases, 'Earth' and 'Fire.' This album concept is highly original and represents the level of awareness this band has as a collective. Dubbing themselves, "Mountain Funk," their influences range from improvisational, Appalachian-Folk and Funk music, which coagulates to form Surprise Attack.
'Water' begins with “M.D.M.A.” a song that highlights this bands lyrical qualities, and even includes a barbershop quartet style vocal harmony and a great Jam melody. This song expresses creative and unique songwriting structures and transitions. As an opening track, this song is well selected and while most of us think of ecstasy or some other illicit experience, after reflecting, this song has nothing to do with that at all. It's something far beyond the acronym.
Recording 'Water' in their home studio, Surprise Attack, uses what they have to produce a listenable album with a solid sound. While, I would love to hear what these guys could do in a professional studio, 'Water' is a great platform to release musical ideas, expand their repertoire and work on their band style. Danny Durazo, Ian Frye, Jay Rowe, Jeremy Begun and Tom Casey all have a unique blend of musical styles and collaborate as a cohesive unit.
"J.N.S." opens up with a strong Latin rhythm structure and great guitar licks. The vocal melody itself can be heard prevalently and the disco sound is undeniably danceable. This one could be jammed out live and with the right amount of improvisation, this song could be taken to the next level. The feeling that "J.N.S." brings forth is something greater than I think is on this recording and while this recording doesn’t capture all the intricate qualities, it does show the creative talents of this band.
"Down And Out" takes this band on a different route down I-495 using the easy pass to get out of traffic. This song is much more the "mountain" side of their sound and has a country-folk feel. The initial reaction is calm, collective and juxtaposes with the story itself of being down and out without cash in the city. This song is very relatable and at times funny and could be commercially viable if the band decided to use it in that capacity.
"Train Of Thought" is by far my favorite track from this album and comes with a high recommendation. This songs structure itself is very Zappa-esque and takes the progressive development of improvisation jam music to the forefront of this album. "Train Of Thought" caught my attention initially for its transitions, reminiscent of moe. Phish and Zappa all combined but still original. Surprise Attack should work towards making all their songs this quality and level of conceptuality.
Altogether and combined with its counterparts, 'Fire' and 'Earth,' 'Water' EP stands out as a great beginning for any up-and-coming band to promote themselves off of. D.C.’s budding music scene is expanding and many great jam acts are growing within this community. I look for Surprise Attack to attack the scene with the same intensity that they have brought to 'Water.' Check out the EP here:https://surpriseattackdc.bandcamp.com/album/water-ep and follow Surprise Attack on all social media platforms for more. Is ‘Wind’ on the way?
Interview with Surprise Attack
(JBP) What made you form Surprise Attack and start playing music together?
Surprise Attack is actually the band that we formed back in high school. We were together for about a year before moving to different towns, going to college, and more or less, going on a permanent hiatus. We’ve all been close friends for quite some time now and as our musical taste expanded, we were going to shows together, and collectively starting analyzing the music we were listening to on a much deeper level than ever before. After we graduated, we started organizing “jams in the cabin” where we’d rent out a cabin for a weekend, set up a temporary studio, and create improvised music together. It wasn’t long after starting those meet-ups that we realized just how essential music was and is, in all of our lives. We moved back to Northern Virginia, where we grew up and where Surprise Attack was originally formed and have been pushing our development as hard as we can ever since.
(JBP) What are your goals in the music industry?
Our goal is to become full time musicians and to take Surprise Attack wherever in the world we can. Granted how much the music industry has been changing, we do our best to keep up with the technology and methodologies that will enable us to be competitive with the bands that are several years ahead of us. We embrace the free content model in hopes of recreating the taper vibe that surrounded The Dead and other Jam bands. As a band that revolves around the live experience and performing a unique set every night, we put a ton effort into conveying that through our content distribution.
(JBP) Do you guys have any experiences opening up for bigger bands? Or any bands you hope to share the stage with one day?
It was a really cool experience to play with Midnight North. Watching Grahame Lesh (the band’s front man and son of Phil Lesh) on stage with The Terrapin Family Band at Lockn ‘17 after opening up for his project at Jammin' Java in Vienna, VA was beyond surreal. We, and every other jam band, pretty much owe our existence to the Dead, so rubbing elbows with someone who continues the Dead’s tradition of improvisational music just deepened our desire to become a part of that tradition as well.
(JBP) I have also met with Grahame; he is a treasure to this community. Where else do you take influence musically?
All of us have always been fans of older bands, as well as more contemporary music, and take tons of influences from Funk groups, Jazz artists, Rock bands, etc, but our first experiences with the Jam bands The String Cheese Incident, Phish, and The Grateful Dead iterations were extremely eye-opening. It wasn't until seeing these Jam veterans operate live, that we realized the potential for creating an exciting performance that incorporates elements from Funk, Rock, Jazz, Bluegrass, Latin, and Dance music. Eclectic is definitely the word that comes to mind when thinking of Surprise Attack’s taste in music and we owe that to the inspiration we've drawn from the Jam music community.
(JBP) How do you think your sound and band can evolve to become something greater and bring something fresh and original to the music scene?
The biggest focus for our music and Surprise Attack as an entity is to be as genuine and authentic as possible. We love all types of music and feel like we don't ever compromise putting out a sound that is truly us. There is also an element of eccentricity to our sound that is just different; partially because we go for so many styles, which makes it hard to pin us down as an “x” band when in comes to our catalog, but also because we're just a bit odd ourselves. I think our personality really shines through in our music, which could be refreshing in a music scene that can be pretty self-serious.
(JBP) Who is the main songwriter or is it more of a collective musical environment?
We definitely view our original works, as well as covers, as the product of a collective musical environment. A lot of the time, a member will come with a certain number of parts or ideas to a song and we will have brainstorming sessions in which the final project is envisioned. We very much so operate as a democracy and welcome all ideas and criticism towards developing the most cohesive music that we possibly can put out. Refining the songs is always an ongoing process and we use our home studio to take scratch recordings as songs are coming into being and revisit the recordings to make changes on sections as a whole, transitions, and individual parts. If someone has an idea for a certain part of a song, even if we thought it was completed a while ago, we’ll try it out and see if it fits. We're still making refinements to songs we wrote years ago.
(JBP) This album was self-produced, was this recorded in a home studio and if so, can you can you share what programs you used or experiences you had recording?
This album was indeed recorded in our home studio! For our most recent EP, Water, we used Logic on our Mac Mini after transitioning away from Ableton Live. Developing our home studio has been an adventure and a half with moving in to our first band house, acoustically treating our main room, and constantly upgrading our set up. Over the past 2 years we’ve continuously invested every bit of money we’ve made into upgrading to new, better technology and methodologies that enable us to share solid self-produced studio and live recordings with the musical community for free. The recording experience has always been extremely fulfilling for us too because we get the opportunity to come back to material we’ve been performing live and really put the polishing touches on the songs to make them whole. We are all about the live environment, but recording allows us to take things we normally experience from one perspective and dissect it from a million different ones. Then we use those new perspectives to form a new and better version of the song that we can play live.
(JBP) Have you had any wild band experiences yet?
One time, when we were supposed to play an afternoon gig for a Brewery’s anniversary party we had an extremely unfortunate series of technical difficulties. We had our PA and the stage entirely set up and were preparing for sound check when our bass player realized his electric bass wasn’t producing any sound at all. We tested a bunch of different cables and inputs devices to see if we could get any signal, but alas nothing. Fortunately our drummer lived nearby and was able to quickly grab his old beat up bass. Mind you this was like a first instrument you’ve ever had kind of bass and we were extremely unsure how it was going to sound but were VERY desperate. We plugged it in and the darn thing wasn’t producing any sound either! In a frenzy, our guitar player and bass player ran to the nearest music store to buy a bass and we were able to get our set moving just after the anticipated start time. We ended up having a great time and overcoming the stress, but we still joke about all the completely unexpected technical challenges that can kick you in the butt like having 2 basses fail on you in one day!
Thanks to Surprise Attack for taking the time to reach out and letting us interview them! If you are interested in having your album reviewed by www.jambandpurist.com contact us and we will work out an option that suites your bands needs. Who else do you want to see on JBP? Let us know.
Jam Band Purist
Editor and Chief: Robert RA Fadley
Limberlost is a Female fronted Power Rock band from the Pacific Northwest Formed in late 2010, original members, guitarist Ricky Dunn and drummer Mike Burt decided to form a band that would make powerful lyrics and create magical music. The band released Thin Cloud, but felt there were missing pieces to the jigsaw. This all changed in 2013 when vocalist Krystle Pyette joined the band to create a balance in range and writing lyrics. The band was finally completed in 2016 with the addition of Bassist Ben Beman In Late 2016 after several single releases working with producer/engineer David Smith from Crash Bang Booom Productions. The band finished as runner up in the 2016 Seattle Wave Radio Jamming Challenge at the Hard Rock Café, as well as runners- ups in the 2017 Puget Sound Battle of the Band, alongside an appearance in the 105.3FM Local Music Project. Cirke Cherokee, a finalist in the Danish XFactor joined the team las year to provide depth and a dynamic to the band.
Limberlost are a mix of alternative rock, powerful vocals and guitar- driven rock. The band have released a succession of singles that listeners can find via Reverbnation and Soundcloud.
The opening sounds of drums that reverberate inside your temples of Long Shadows sets the tone for a beautiful 80’s-style hard rock track accompanied by the enchanting pinched harmonics of Dunn and Pyette’s impressive range that switches gears is an all-round rocker with huge riffs.
Thin Clouds is the group’s revised version of their first single. The listener gets an earlier example of the chemistry between vocalists - Krystel Pyette and Cirke Cherokee. This is a more up-tempo blues track with elements of gospel and soul. The women croon in tandem to the back outlay of fast guitars and catchy hooks.
Babylon is a soulful crooner with a tight rhythm section that slithers along with every breath expressed by the ever more strong vocal lines of Pyette. The addition of a keyboard solo is reminiscent of classic 70’s rock.
Not My Own is an anthemic track stocked full of raw emotion and atmospheric music that creates a picture of someone reaching out alone. This is a track that appeals to the more sensitive fans of ballads.
And Finally, The heavy hitting Hands up. A song full of tantalising groove, sensual vocals and hypnotic riffs. This could easily be the breakthrough hit for Limberlost
https://www.limberlostmusic.com/ The official site includes tour dates, photo’s, videos’ music and merchandise. An assessable site for any fan.
https://www.facebook.com/limberlost/ This is another professional effort with colourful pics, information about the music, videos and tour dates.
https://twitter.com/limberlost_band A nicely designed page with a black and white header that instantly reflects the music of limberlost. This page provides regular updates of tours and music.
https://www.instagram.com/limberlostmusic/ This site provides an in- depth look at the band backstage.
Please be sure to join the group at Louie G’s on April 6th in Fife, WA
How did the band come to meet The Old School Project?
“We actually submitted in the first Reverbnation campaign that The Old School Project did and were fortunate enough to be in their top 10 to earn a roster spot!”
Could you introduce yourselves to the Old School Project Listeners and new readers?
“Hello TOSP Listeners!! We are Limberlost, an original female fronted rock band from the Seattle area in Washington State, USA. We consist of Krystle Pyette on lead vocals, Cirke Cherokee on Backing Vocals, Ricky Dunn on lead Guitar, Ben Bemen on Bass Guitar, Mike Burt on Drums and Raymond Hayden on Keys.”
How did Limberlost form? And what was your inspirations to create the band?
“In late 2010, Mike and Ricky found each other on Craigslist looking to form an original song writing band. They went through a couple of false starts and then in 2013 they met up with Krystle who was leading Worship at a church they were attending. After a little while of playing together for the church, they along with their original bassist, Daniel, started to work together on writing material. In early 2016 they went into the studio with the first single Thin Clouds and it was shortly after that, that Daniel left the group. Along came Ben and then things just blew up from there. We added Keyboards in November 2016 and currently are blessed to have Raymond Hayden working with us and a year later came Cirke. We couldn’t be more excited about our future as a band!!”
How would you describe your sound to people unfamiliar with your music?
“It’s got elements of classic 80s 90s rock, maybe a Heart meets Zeppelin meets Deep Purple? Powerful Female vocal, guitar driven hooks and tenacious grooves!”
You want to write and produce great music with powerful lyrics, could you explain what inspires you to write?
“We have what we refer to as a “Mosaic” writing approach. In other words, everybody is encouraged in the writing process. A majority of our lyrics to date have come from Krystle and Mike. Each has written several of our current songs and can give something personal that drove the lyric. However, Ricky drives most of the melodies. The stuff we are currently working on now has some new twists with Ben, Cirke and Ray’s contributions. It’s cool because each song so far has been very unique. It just seems to come together in different ways.”
What message do you hope to make through your music?
“Hope! That grace exists and every day is yours to live so make it count!”
What tends to be your writing process?
“ We love playing together, so again it just happens. Good Chemistry along with a serious approach to one’s music, creates a pretty fertile field for creativity”
You have finished runner- up in several high profile competitions such as the 2016 Seattle wave radio jamming challenge at hard rock café , 2017 sound of the bands, and a finalist at 105.3fm local music project, how has this experience impacted on the band’s performances?
“Wow, yes we tend to be really good at second place…lol… The fact that our band has done so well so quickly has given us a lot of confidence to push forward and not spend a lot of time second guessing. Our fans have been great in supporting us and to be recognized not just as a good act but to have good songs is really humbling. It just makes us try to raise the bar every time we hit the stage.”
Limberlost will be embarking on a tour across the pacific northwest, what is a typical show from the band, and what are you looking forward the most about it?
“We love to play and to create new fans so getting out of our own area is an exciting prospect. We will also be travelling occasionally with our really good friends and super talented band Strangely Alright in 2018 so we are just eager to see what kind of fun and shenanigans we will be able to stir up together”.
Last summer, Limberlost added Danish X Factor finalist Cirke Cherokee as a back up vocalist. What impact has this had on the band’s overall sound?
“She has made a huge impact. Krystle has an incredible voice. Beautiful balance of range, control and power. Add Cirke, who has very similar strengths, and these two will blow your hair back.”
What is the meaning behind the band’s name?
“Limberlost comes from the story about the Limberlost swamp in Indiana that Ricky’s grandmother told him when she referred to the woods behind their house. The story was the legend of a man who was lost in the swamp and gave his will up to the Lord to find his way out and was lead to walk in a straight line which lead him out of the darkness. It also dove tails with a story Krystle read called The Girl of the Limberlost. And we also thought it sounded cool!”
How difficult is it for a band to break into today’s music industry?
“Extremely! First you have to find a bunch of super talented folks who all want to play together and work really hard and sacrifice almost everything. Then they have to write really good songs and keep sacrificing. There is SO much content bombarding the internet anymore that it is really hard to stick out. So if you are doing this to get rich…quit….lol. No seriously, you better love doing this and love the people you are doing it for and cherish the ones you are blessed to do it with. Write great songs! Be Consistent in all your efforts!!! HAVE FRIGGEN FUN!!!!!”
Can fans look forward to any new material?
“We are always writing!! We have a new one “See What You Want” that will be released in a couple months. A new cover that we are going to actually license and release in early summer and several in the hopper. Along with the release of all our material to date on one album titled “Limberlost Vol. 1” coming very soon.”