music is life, music is breath, music is us

Archive for September, 2013

A Conversation with Northern Irish Songwriter Dean Kernoghan

Image

 

(Some time ago I posted a song by this artist. He is an interesting guy to talk to, and I really dig his sound. Cheers.-Derek)

Derek Kortepeter: So, if you can go back into the depths of your mind, what are some of your earliest memories of music?

Dean Kernoghan: Right from when I was very young, I have been fascinated with how songs were wrote and recorded, I couldn’t understand how music could be stored on a piece of vinyl (yes it was back in the days of vinyl) or how it got on the radio. Every weekend I would go to my local music shop and by a single and play it nonstop. Everything from the Bee Gees to Iron Maiden, it didn’t matter to me what style it was, or if it was cool. I was just listening for a great song.

Kortepeter: Can you trace any of these memories/early music experiences as current inspirations for your songwriting?

Kernoghan: I guess listening to all that music when I was young planted the seeds of wanting to write songs and work in the music industry. Im an audio visual engineer now so it kinda all stems back to that fascination when I was young.

Kortepeter: Since we are on the topic of songwriting, could you explain the core themes that you write about?

Kernoghan: My e.p has a theme of searching… for love, for somewhere to belong, for a better life. But there’s a lot of positivity and humor in the songs. My favorite lyric is in Neil Young’s ‘Out on the weekend’ where he says… ‘Think I’ll pack it in, by a pickup’ No joke, I must say that to myself (and others) at least once a day. I think there’s something romantic and uplifting about getting rid of all the ‘stuff’ in your life and just setting off into the unknown, living day to day. The songs on this e,p come from that feeling.

Kortepeter: Does being Northern Irish give you a unique perspective on life that you can translate into a musical expression? I don’t want to bring up any bad memories for you, but the Troubles so often become intertwined in some way with the art of your people, and I have to wonder if the same can be said for you as a man with a guitar and a voice.

Kernoghan: I really try to write about how I feel and be honest in my songs so when there’s something I disagree with or feel strongly about, it’s going to come out in the music.  Growing up in such a conflicted and repressed society is bound to influence anyone’s art. Northern Ireland is such a beautiful land but there are deep wounds from ‘the troubles’ that only time will heal but generally, as a country, we are moving forward and we must be positive and thankful for that. I am hopeful and hope my music reflects that.

Kortepeter: What would you say is your process of writing?

Kernoghan: I really can’t sit down and think… OK I’m going to write a song about this girl that’s driving me crazy. It just wouldn’t happen, and I’d end up driving myself crazy.  I usually sit down with the guitar and play a few chords and just sing whatever pops into my head. It may be very rough and makes no sense at all, but all I’m looking for is a good melody or feeling. I’ll record it on my phone, leave it for a day or two and then listen back, if I think there’s something with potential then I’ll work on it and spend time crafting the song, while trying to stay true to the original vibe.

Kortepeter: It’s funny that you are interested and influenced by the Laurel Canyon sound. I’m a SoCal guy from the San Fernando Valley (born and raised) and that isn’t far from where I grew up. What drew you to the artists to come from this scene?

Kernoghan: Well, as someone who grew up in cold, wet, troubled Northern Ireland in the 1980s it was easy to romanticize about the music scene from California. It’s warm weather, acoustic guitars, a free spirited community sounded like paradise to me. I love songs that are emotional, heartfelt and honest and it was around California in the 60’s that the singer songwriter really became popular. The music seemed so pure and organic yet had power in it. I could feel the emotion in the songs.

Kortepeter: As your website indicates, you were not always a solo artist. What made you decide to take that leap of faith and thrust yourself into that world?

Kernoghan: A broken heart. I wrote a song about a year ago about a girl that I thought was pretty good, the song that is, not the girl. I hadn’t wrote anything for a long time and when the song was finished I liked it, thought it was strong and had a style that was quite original. That song didn’t make the e.p but it gave me the inspiration and drive to start writing more. After a while I found I had a few songs that fitted well together and began to get a image in my head of an e.p and how it would sound. I was really just writing for me, just to get it out of my system.

Kortepeter: Tell me about your E.P. “Wherever You Go,” what content can people expect to find on the record?

Kernoghan: Well, it was all performed and recorded by me in my kitchen and living room over the past year. I tried going to a studio to record but it didn’t work out, I like the freedom to change my mind, without it costing me hundreds of pounds. I change my mind a lot. I could have a song recorded and wake up and think it’s too slow, or needs to be up a key and when you’re paying big money for a studio you don’t have that luxury, unless you’re loaded. I work as an audio visual engineer, so I had most of the equipment I needed and really started to enjoy working on it and seeing it come together. I did take it to a studio to mix it though, and I must mention Neal Calderwood at Manor Park Studio, who did a great job of mixing it.

Kortepeter: What do you want people to take away from your music?

Kernoghan: If someone can relate and enjoy a song, then it has done its job. I’m not expecting people to have a religious experience while listening, but you never know!

Kortepeter: Are you looking towards any specific future creative endeavors musically?

Kernoghan: I’d like to start gigging again and give more time to my music. I also would love to make videos for the songs. I can picture an animation for my song 50 million miles from home, so im looking for someone who can do that kinda thing. And I keep writing and trying to improve as a song writer.

Kortepeter: Before we close, do you have anything else you would like to say?

Kernoghan :Just like to thank you Derek and let anyone who is interested know they can listen to my e.p for free at www.deankernoghan.com

Advertisements

Interview with electronic/rock artists KLOQ

(hey, I posted these dudes sometime ago on Mixolydian. Here is an interview I did with them. Cheers-Derek)

Image

Derek Kortepeter: How did the band start?

Oz:The band started as a studio project by myself, it was more of an electronic/dance project but over the years I started writing tracks that were more geared towards vocals and my intention was to always turn KLOQ into a live band.

D.K.: The music of Kloq is a healthy dose of electronic and rock influences. Could you describe how the sound of the band developed?

Tim: As with most bands, the main musicians normally make up the sounds of what is being produced, once the final band members were in place the new KLOQ sound pretty much fitted together naturally. Each of us has a different musical background yet very similar tastes in music. That’s why we feel our sound  works so well.

D.K.: What do you consider to be the strongest drive behind your band’s music?What are you trying to say as artists?

Oz: Our strongest drive is simply….to get KLOQ heard! We hear such a variety of music these days yet we still have something new to give and there isn’t another Kloq out there! We’ve had some bad times in life… like everybody I guess? Each song reflects that. Hopefully people can connect in the same way we do with them…..we all have to fight life sometimes…right ?

D.K.: Your new album is being released soon, could you describe the process of writing it and what it contains thematically?

Dean: The words and Theme are pretty much down to what we’re feeling at the time. The music is normally written before we start work on the lyrics.. which sometimes makes it easier. We’ve had a lot emotional periods within the band since our first record and although it was painful at the time, it does help to pen a better song…..every time we write, it has to be better than the last!

D.K.: When you make the decision to commit to working on a new track, is there a formulaic process or does it flow out of you in a flurry of words and notes?

Oz: Notes, riffs, arrangements and music are generally done first. Tim may have a bass line kicking around or I’ll have written some melodies or synth parts already. Then we sit and work out what can be done with it. From a lyrical point of view, the way we feel at that moment then dictates how the project progresses. To some bands it might seem odd to work this way but we are a band based on production and musicianship and we like to have a solid foundation of music before working on a theme.

D.K.: How has the experience of opening for like Alt-J and Bloc Party affected you as artists?

Dean: We tend to not think about it because we’re generally focused on our own performance. We enjoy the opportunities to play along side bigger names but we don’t take our eye off the ball. I guess you get to see what’s out there, what’s selling. We influence ourselves rather than get influenced by others..

D.K.: What do you wish to give your audience in terms of a live concert? When they walk out of a show what do you hope that they are feeling?

Tim: we want the audience to really get the music and what KLOQ is about, singing our songs, feeling the power of the performance and feeling ‘wow’….how the hell did they do that ?? We want to innovate when playing live. Hopefully, our audience has heard our music and now wants to “Flesh it out” you know… Give the whole thing some substance. It’s our chance to be three or four dimensional.. BOOM!

D.K.: Does being English give a unique musical perspective that only can be found in your homeland?

Dean: Of course it’s always cool to be English, we’re proud of that but we’ve toured extensively in Europe and to some extent we have taken on influences from other global acts. I don’t think that being English is a meal ticket to the rest of the world but it does make you more accessible to parts of the industry.

D.K.: Besides the new album, are there any creative endeavors you are pursuing musically?

Oz: I’ve remixed a couple of bands recently and Tim’s done a few bass studio sessions. He endorses a lot of gear so he’s always flitting around, going to music shows around Europe. Singer Dean is working with a rapper on some new material as well. Alex techs for a lot of bands like Skindred and Ugly Kid Joe when he’s not laying down our drum beats.

D.K: What advice do you have to other bands trying to make music that resonates with people?

Tim: (laughs) Do something different, do something original, do something that matters……or do nothing at all.

D.K.: Anything else you want to say before we close?

Kloq: We just wanna be heard, get our point across to people and make music.

 

Kloq can be found at https://www.facebook.com/Kloqmusic


Another interview with Finnish rockers Face of God

Image

 

(Hey everyone, remember many moons ago my interview with Leo Stillman, lead singer for Face of God?

If not see here…https://mixolydianblog.com/2012/12/05/leo-stillman-from-face-of-god-opening-for-him-soon-interview/

Now I present to you an interview with the entire band. They discuss lineup changes, their new album, and much more. Have fun.-Derek)

Derek Kortepeter: So last time I spoke to you guys you were about to open for H.I.M., how
did that concert go?

Leo: It went really well. Awesome crowd and it was huge honor for us. A dream come true!

D.K.: You have been touring quite a bit, how has the reception been to your
music in the different countries you have played in?

Leo : It works pretty well, but we haven’t toured that much yet, so it’s
hard to tell. But it seems that we’ve done something right. We played in
Germany and in England last spring and now we are in England again playing
six shows. Next year we’re trying to visit more countries! Last Wednesday
we headlined at Notting Hill Arts Club in London and the house was full.
The crowd was amazing, one of the best ones we’ve ever had!

Image

(picture credits Nadi Hammouda, https://www.facebook.com/pages/NadiPhotography/164793406944693?ref=br_rs

Writer note, the performance was recorded. See here https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=aC_cR_E1jDE%3E

D.K.: The band is releasing a debut album soon, what details can you give
about it?

Benjamin :. The album was recorded, produced and mixed by Aki Sihvonen at
legendary Finnvox studios.  Aki and Finnvox was the perfect method to
achieve raw and authentic rock sound. In the end that’s what FoG is all
about, rock. The songs are pretty much all new and they have more straight
forward approach than before. To summary, we could say that the album is a
salutation to old school rock sound with really catchy pop melodies and the
drive of three really energetic lads.

D.K.: Are you noticing any musical changes in your style or approach to
writing? How are you growing as musicians?

Benjamin : We have learned to give more space for songs and focus on the
essential. The song structures are a much clearer cut than before, which
brings out the strong melodies. We have also learned to hold back with our
playing when it’s needed, and when there is room to expand, we are able to
explode with full of the energy and big melodies.

Leo : As I writer I’ve learned to listen to myself more and more and I’ve
learned to give more time for myself. I love writing songs, and that keeps me
going. I asked advice from Ville Valo (lead singer of H.I.M.) and he said : ” What do you want to do
with your life? If music is what you want, then write good songs, it’s all
about good songs ”. Sounds easy, but it’s much more. You just have to go really deep into your mind and into your heart and soul and see what happens.

If you try to write a good song it never works. It might work for some
people, but for me, it has to come naturally. When you have the skeleton of
the song, then you have to start to work with it. But it needs to have
soul, and that’s the most important thing. Song is good if it has soul.
Like a person.

D.K.: So is where you are at career-wise what you expected?  Or is everything
that has occurred all kind of new and unexpected?

Leo : Well, it’s everything about what you want. We are still taking our
baby steps. Lots of work and good songs. What else can you do! We want to
write good songs and play good gigs. We have good team working around us,
and they really believe in what we are doing. They also say straight if we sucked on stage or some songs are shit. It’s really important to get criticism.

D.K.: I’m noticing that you guys have been doing a lot of photo shoots, are
you used to them by now? I know some people are a little shy in front of a camera.

Leo : We are pretty used to it. It’s all because we always have such great
photographers around us. It’s easy and fun if the photographer has a
vision. It’s easy to work if you trust the ones you’re working with.

Perttu : It´s important to take a lot of pictures of the band, in various
locations, for different purposes. Some don´t like to perform on stage
either, we love it! All of us have been playing in bands most of our lives
and taking photos is natural part of the job.

D.K.: The band has a new drummer (Perttu Kurttila), what is the band dynamic
like with him behind the kit? Has it changed the songwriting process at all?

Leo : Perttu is the right guy for the band. Perttu came one week before the
studio, so he had to learn 9 songs in one week and he did really well. The
songs were written before that, but Perttu gave a lot of good ideas and
gave something really fresh for the album! He gives additional energy for the band!

D.K.: Would you say that social media has been of great assistance to you in
terms of promoting Face of God?

Perttu : Social media is an important tool for promoting your band since
there are millions and millions of users out there. I guess any kind of
publicity is important regardless what media it is.

Leo : Yes it has! We love to talk to our fans and listeners, that’s really
important for us!

D.K.: You have some very passionate fans that assemble street teams to promote
your music. If someone wanted to get involved with these street teams, what should they do?

Leo: Yeah ! That’s so cool! We are really happy that some people really
love what we do. it’s an honor! If you like to work with our street teams
you can contact streetteamfog@gmail.com  or just write to Facebook’s ” Face Of God
Street Team ” page and you should find different countries street team pages.

D.K.: Anything else you would like to say before we close?

Thank you!

Once again bros, it was awesome. I think this music of yours is pretty damn amazing, and you’ll rock the world with it.-Derek


Interview with The Brink

Image

 

(Hey everyone. Here is an interview with a rock band that I featured on Mixolydian recently. They have a great sound and a clear direction of who they are as a group-Derek).

Derek Kortepeter: You guys are clearly influenced a lot by bands (80’s metal and 70’s arena rock) that I grew up building my chops on as a guitarist. Needless to say, I’m stoked that people are bringing these styles back. You also have your own musical fingerprint, could you describe how you developed your sound?

The Brink: A lot of our influences definitely come from older bands such as Bon Jovi, Skid Row, Aerosmith etc. but what we’ve done to develop our sound is take certain influences of that style of music, but not make an exact copy. We definitely like to keep a very open musical mind and try to take a new approach to redeveloping that 80s stadium rock style, making sure we are in keeping with the way todays modern music scene is going.

DK: How did you become a band?

TB: Gary and Alex grew up together and have known each other since they were 13. After years of playing in bands locally they decided the wanted to create something bigger and better. Dave met the two of them a few years ago after auditioning for the drummer position. After a year or so searching for the right vocalist they approached Tom, and after a year of expanding their fan base they approached Joe who slotted in very recently as the rhythm guitarist.

DK: What would you say your “musical mission” is as artists and rock musicians?

TB: We like to bring a modern twist to a classical style of rock n roll. We feel that a lot of the “show” has been taken out of gigs and there are very few bands out there who do more than just stand on stage and play the music. You could say our mission is to keep the audience engaged and excited, giving a rock fan everything he or she wants from a rock show.

DK: Thematically what would you say your band’s songs focus on?

TB: There are 4 main themes that we believe are the main focus of our tracks; lust, love, partying and probably the biggest of all “believing in yourself”. As musicians we always try to relate our songs to the audience in some way. Using personal life experiences and bringing them into the lyrics means that people can relate to them in their own way.

DK: What experience do you try to give to your audience at concerts?

TB: We enjoy putting on a big, flamboyant show which engages the crowd and always leaves them wanting more. We always love to give them the “stadium rock experience” no matter the size of the venue.

DK: When you get together to work on songs, what is the process? Is it methodical or shoot from the hip?

TB: It’s very shoot from the hip when we are writing. As the idea progresses it then takes on a certain patter, this sometimes goes back to our 80s influences, utilizing certain aspects which bring life and energy into the track. However most of the time it is all about feel.

DK: When did you decide that music was the only path to travel?

TB: For all of us it was back when we were about 15 or 16 and we heard that 1st rock album that made us go “Yes, this is what I want to do”. For Tom it was Whitesnake’s Slip Of The Tongue, for Joe it was G N’ R’s Appetite, for Alex and Gary it was Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet and for Dave it was a combination of Zepplin and Deep Purple tracks. Hearing these great bands really gave us the passion and fire to try and follow in their footsteps.

 

DK: In the future, what do you hope to do with the band and its music?

TB: Our main goal for the future is to be able to take our music on the road and tour the world. We want to be able to say “We did that, we played across the globe and we left a mark” To leave a legacy of some form would be something that we would absolutely love to be able to do.

DK: Any dream venues to play, or maybe dream musicians to collaborate with?

TB: Dream venues would be places such as Wembley Stadium, Madison Square Garden in NYC, and The Whiskey A Go Go in LA as these are some of the most iconic venues. Other musicians we would love to collaborate with would be artists such as Slash, David Coverdale, Richie Sambora. We would even love to work with Eminem, if ever there was an opportunity to do so. We would also like to work with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

DK: Anything you want to say before we end this interview?

TB: Firstly thank you for having us. The only thing left to say really is some shameless plugging; we have an album coming out on October 29th called “Would You Love Her”, it will be available as a digital download on ITunes as well as hard copies from Amazon etc. Just visit www.facebook.com/thebrinkband for more details. Thank you once again.