Interview with Nahko and Medicine for the People August 10, 2017
41 Tips For Women Starting Out In The Music Business (Repost from PIAS) September 28, 2016
“It’s a male-dominated industry, but that means your perspective is even more value. Speak your mind, speak truth to power – never be afraid to be “that girl.”” – Michelle Lhooq
This is an amazing post and I’m honored to share these tips! Thank you to PIAS for this post!
Reel Big Fish “Don’t Stop Skankin’!” US Tour November 19, 2013
By Jon Warhol
11/10/13 at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey
I had the lucky opportunity to sit down and talk with the hardest working ska group in show business, Reel Big Fish, as they kicked off their Don’t Stop Skankin’!” US tour. The tour lasts until November 22, after which they head to the land down under to play Australia’s Warped Tour. RBF has been around as long as me (22 years!) and are a hilarious and energetic band. They were happy to talk about everything from their favorite albums, junk foods, and beers, to their appearance in the movie Baseketball.
Jon Warhol: Your latest release was 2012’s Candy Coated Fury. What makes it different from your other records?
Aaron Barrett: I think it has the first good songs I’ve ever written. Ever. I’m really proud of it. It also has the longest songs we’ve ever written. We used to be able to do about 30 songs in a set in about 90 minutes. Now it’s six songs, ha!
Matt Appleton: If I’m not mistaken, the idea behind these songs is that they should all be good dancing songs, right? You were thinking about what makes people move, and what gets people excited.
Aaron: That’s a good answer, I like it. I think I read that off Wikipedia. It’s not always on the website or the bio.
Matt: That’s how I know it’s right. (laughter)
Jon: The Candy Coated Fury track I can relate to the most is “Everyone Else is an Asshole” because I get really bad road rage when I drive. Did you have a really bad driving day and felt compelled to pull over and write the song?
Aaron: Ha ha! No, that song was inspired by our old trombone player, Dan Regan. For a few years he was in a really bad mood. Extra bad, worse than usual. No matter who was in the room or what was going on, he just fuckin’ muttered stuff under his breath. He was so mad that when you said “Hey Dan, good morning.” he said “Fuck you good morning.” So one day I was like “Oh yeah Dan, everyone else is an asshole but you!”
Jon: One of the things I like about your lyrics is that they are really straight forward. There are other songs by other artists where you wonder “What the hell is this about?”
Aaron: They’re not poetry, I know…there’s the song called “I Want Your Girlfriend to be My Girlfriend,” it goes like this: “I want your girlfriend to be my girlfriend!” That’s what it’s about!
Matt: There’s no hidden messages; it is what it is.
Jon: Who are some of your major influences, lyrically speaking?
Aaron: Uh…well I don’t know, I’ve never been asked that question in 22 years! No one has ever said “Who influences your lyrics,” so it’s impossible to answer!
Matt: Can’t we read it on Wikipedia yet? (laughter)
Aaron: I don’t know, I don’t think I have a lyrical influence. I just go off intuition, whatever comes out.
Jon: Top five favorite albums ever. Go.
Johnny Christmas: That’s so hard! It’s hard to answer because you’re talking to people with such diverse musical influences.
Matt: I’ll go first! 1) The Beatles Revolver 2) Beach Boys Friends 3) The Police Outlandos d’Amour 4) Fiona Apple When the Pawn…that’s all I can think of off the top of my head.
Aaron: I have too many favorite albums to pick a top five.
Johnny: 1) Louis Armstrong plays WC Handy.
Aaron: I don’t know what the hell you just said.
Johnny: I know…2) Miles Davis Relaxin’.
Matt: Johnny, every time I get in your car, you’ve got Metallica or Megadeath on.
Johnny: I’ve been pissed off for the past year. 3) Megadeath Greatest Hits.
Billy Kottage: 1) The Beach Boys Pet Sounds 2) The Beatles Revolver 3) Grateful Dead American Beauty 4) Thelonious Monk Alone in San Francisco 5) Westbound Train Transitions.
Aaron: You guys are all wrong. Your opinions are all wrong.
Jon: I’m a Dire Straits fan, and your album titled Monkeys for Nothin’ Chimps for Free makes me wonder are you also a fan or was the title just too irresistible?
Aaron: I like Dire Straits…Except that one line about that trumpet playin’ band ain’t what they call rock n roll. I was like FUCK THAT! FUCK YOU SULTANS OF SWING! Not a huge fan, but I like them.
Johnny: For our generation growing up with MTV, that “Money For Nothing” video was on ALL THE TIME! And it was a great video.
Jon: It’s one of the first 3-D videos.
Johnny: Yeah, you couldn’t get around it. I didn’t even have cable and I listened to it.
Aaron: Just think, a lot of our fans now don’t even remember when MTV was a music TV channel.
Johnny: They don’t understand that the M stands for MUSIC Television.
Matt: They think it stands for mister. Mr Television.
Johnny: Stands for really bad reality TV.
Jon: What’s the most “rock star” thing you’ve ever done? Any crazy tour bus stories?
Matt: Didn’t something happen a little while ago where we thought “This is one of those things we would tell in an interview!” I don’t remember…
Johnny: For me, it was playing the festival in Dubai with Megadeath when I was going out to play my solo. I was going to go out on this big long ramp but my mic cable got stuck on one of the lights. I didn’t even make it to the ramp and I had to play my solo from the side instead of the ego ramp.
Aaron: That’s not a rock star moment, that’s like a disaster story!
Johnny: It’s like a Spinal Tap moment!
Aaron: Remember when we did the press conference with Dave Mustaine?
Jon: What happened with that?
Johnny: There was this press conference with us, Megadeath and Three Doors Down. We were the only bands playing this show in Dubai. Reel Big Fish, Megadeath and Three Doors Down…because those are complimentary items. I’m sitting at this big long table talking to our bass player, Matt Wong, and a red-head guy comes up and goes “Hi, my name is Dave, and I was a huge fan of The Specials and Madness.” I went “What?!? Dave Mustaine was a ska kid!?”
Aaron: We were at the Kerrang! Awards show in England, and each table had a bottle of whisky, bottle of rum, bottle of vodka…every single table. Everyone was really hammered drunk after they served food and stuff. I started throwing bottles all over the tables and I got glass all over somebody from The Used. I ruined someone from Good Charlotte’s food. Bowling for Soul threw a table over and they got in trouble but I didn’t get in trouble. Then I went to an after party and met Paris Hilton. She was going out with Derek from Sum 41. She said “I’M PARIS.” I said “HI.”
Jon: Favorite junk food and favorite beer?
Aaron: This should be easier!
Matt: Favorite beer- Heady Topper from the Alchemist in Vermont. Favorite junk food- Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Billy: Favorite beer- Heady Topper from the Alchemist brewery in Vermont as well. My favorite junk food…is PB&J junk food? I eat one before bed almost every night.
Johnny: My favorite beer is the St. Bernardus 12 from Belgium. Favorite junk food is plain Lays potato chips.
Jon: Plain, like unsalted?
Johnny: No, salted. OG chips.
Aaron: My favorite beer is Delirium Nocturnum. Favorite junk food is chili fries and volcano burgers from the place across my high school, with no cheese. Best thing I ever ate in my life. Just from that place. I don’t really like chili fries from anywhere else.
Jon: Do you ever get tired of playing your big hits from back in the day or are they still entertaining years later?
Aaron: Some of the newer members might not be as sick of the old songs as others. I definitely am not sick of playing the favorites because I like pleasing the crowd and making them dance. When you play one of those songs, the crowd goes WILD! That never gets old for me.
Jon: So it’s the crowd reaction that keeps it going for you?
Aaron: When we start playing a song and nobody reacts, it’s the worst feeling in the world. Being on stage like OH THEY HATE ME RIGHT NOW!!! Anytime we play those old songs and people go crazy it’s awesome.
Jon: When you find the songs that don’t get a reaction from people, do you kick them off the set list for next time?
Aaron: Yeah, we rotate them and give songs a new try. Sometimes the songs that get the best reaction over time are forgotten. The people who come to the shows at the time don’t know that one anymore.
Johnny: And you also adjust the set list for what country you’re playing in. The big hits in UK might not be in USA. Cheer Up is way huge over there.
Aaron: But even that, 10 years ago, you play something from Cheer Up and they would know every word of every song, but now, is not the case anymore, I’ve noticed. They just know the three favorite ones or whatever.
Jon: Are you guys satisfied with the ska scene or would you prefer it more mainstream? If so, what would it take to get it there?
Aaron: Of course we’d like to be super rich and famous and playing stadiums, but this is our job. We don’t have to go home to real jobs. So for us, the ska scene is pretty awesome. It’s going strong in the underground.
Jon: I’m a huge fan of Baseketball, how did you get to be the band in the movie?
Aaron: We were hot shit back then! We were the happening new band! I think our record label, MOJO, was somehow put in charge of releasing the movie’s soundtrack and I think they just said “Hey why not put RBF in there?” I guess…I don’t know. They needed a band? We never knew the real reason.
Jon: Did you get to meet the South Park guys?
Aaron: Yeah, I was like “Hey!” and they were like “Hey, my name’s Matt.” “Hi, my name is Trey. We gotta go, we’re busy.”
Johnny: You think making a movie is glamorous and really interesting. It’s really a lot of waiting around for ten hours and then being on set and doing your thing for an hour. Back when I had long hair, I was in the movie Cable Guy.
Jon: You were an actor in the movie?
Johnny: I worked at Medieval Times and they needed a trumpet player in a scene for the movie.
Aaron: At least he knows how he got in the movie. Someone just called and said “You’re going to be in a movie with the South Park guys,” FUCK YEAH! They actually filmed another scene we were in – me, Scott and Dan were sitting on a couch at a party scene and then Scott kicked over a bowl of popcorn and it went all over. They had to stop shooting and clean it all up. He RUINED THE SCENE! So somewhere there’s a scene that we’re in.
Jon: The Baseketball stadium, was that an actual stadium, or a set built for the movie?
Aaron: That was the Olympic Auditorium in LA. They had a lot of fake people. Cardboard cut outs of people all over. They moved the extras to where they were filming. Movie magic!
Jon: Did you see the movie?
Aaron: Yeah, it’s pretty funny.
Johnny: It turned out to be a cult classic. Played all the time on HBO and things like that.
Aaron: More people know us from that movie than from anything else.
Jon: What is your definition of a poser?
Aaron: Like a model?
Johnny: Like a mannequin?
Billy: Blue Steel. That’s what I think.
Matt: Somebody who tries to fit into a group of people even though maybe they’re not interested in that. Someone who’s trying a little too hard to fit in.
Interview with New Beat Fund on the Van’s Warped Tour 2013 August 20, 2013
Button: My name is Button I play guitar.
Benny: I’m Benny Baker the hit maker and I’m lead vocals and guitar.
Silky: My name is Silky and I just burped.
Snapz: I’m Snapz and play funky bass.
TNT: How has your experience been on Warped Tour?
Silky: Warped Tour has been absolutely amazing. This is our very first tour as a band so being thrown into Warped Tour specifically has been absolutely insane. We feel like if we can get through this type of tour, we’re set.
Klone: Kind of hit the ground running, right?
Silky: Exactly. We just got thrown in.
Benny: Like boot camp.
Silky: We started out with three weeks on the tour and then got added to the whole tour.
Button: Glad to be here in New York.
Klone: So what’s the eye-opening experience of boot camp like then? What’s the first shocker you experienced on your first tour?
Snapz: I would say the shocker was playing in Vegas and on stage it was like 120° and I almost passed out.
Benny: He almost passed out, I put a water bottle on the black top and it literally melted the water bottle and all my water poured all over the ground. That’s how hot the blacktop was.
Klone: Was that because you guys were playing on the blacktop?
Button: Yeah! We brought the heat! We turned it up, we’re like “this shit ain’t hot enough let’s turn this shit up. Bam!”
Silky: Before we started playing, it was a cool 72°.
Button: As Vegas normally is.
Snapz: With a chance of showers. Then the clouds parted, in came New Beat Fund.
TNT: Tell us about the new album.
Silky: It’s actually a six-track EP called CoiNz. We released it right before Warped Tour. It’s available for free on our website.
Button: Please enjoy and spread to friends!
Snapz: And actually, our site is hot-boxed! So you go on our website, you can clear the smoke with your curser and then you can hotbox other people’s websites.
Benny: Yeah, there’s a little button on the bottom right-hand corner. If you click “hotbox it,” it opens up a little thing and you type in anybody’s website, like your buddy’s website or whatever you want to hotbox. It can be the NYPD website.
Silky: Everybody please hotbox the NYPD’s website.
Klone: Freedom of choice and freedom of speech, so I think we should stand up for it.
Benny: And then post it on Instagram for all your friends to see.
TNT: I love the song “Scare Me.” How did the video shoot go?
Silky: It was a great time. Yeah it was awesome. We basically kind of produced the entire video on our own. It was the first song we ever recorded as a band and the first video as a band and we did it all on our own, we just want to keep it real, show people our lives in LA and along the way we picked up a crazy-ass ghost friend.
Benny: Ghost amigo.
Button: And to be honest with you, it was all really fun until ghosty, he got a little too…
Benny: He started smacking girls’ asses at the end of the party and bitches got cray, he got cray, a couple people lost some limbs and a couple people got stabbed.
Silky: It got real.
TNT: Shit went down.
Snapz: Actually, a girl got hit in the head by a giant cock.
Klone: Well, it’s not a party until that happens.
Snapz: I’m actually referring to a rooster that fell off the roof. But she did get hit by a cock.
Klone: Do you think the fact that there are so many things that are really scary out there, is that sort of a common plane for you guys when you started to come together as a band? Is that why that’s the first song you recorded?
Benny: Yeah, we were coming out of some shit when the lyrics to that song were written, a lot of turmoil I suppose. We like to make light of it as a comedian would, I mean obviously we spill out what we think and how we feel, but we don’t want to be like ‘this is exactly how you should feel’ and stuff like that. A lot of kids love the song, but maybe haven’t even caught on to the full message of the song yet. So, I think as time goes on, the more music we produce in a similar light, more people will catch on to it.
Silky: Definitely as people we observe what’s going on in the world and observe what’s going on around us and just being alive is crazy in itself, so we just kind of bring it to music.
TNT: We appreciate you not being posers.
Snapz: We do pose for photos.
Benny: We’re actually great posers in that sense.
TNT: What has been your craziest experience with a fan?
Silky: There was a weird moment on Warped Tour; our goal was to hustle our stuff and get it to as many people as possible. I was handing out round CoiNz stickers one day. This girl came up to me and kind of bumped into me and I was like “Wow, you wanna have sex, huh?” It turned out she did want to have sex. But before that, I noticed she wasn’t wearing a bra and I was like “Well, if you take your shirt off you can put these stickers on your boobs and it will look great.” She did and she was dead sexy in them. It was the most amazing promotion we could ever get as a band, two CoiNz staring right in your face.
Klone: The perks of being a rock star.
TNT: What is your definition of a poser?
Snapz: It would be someone who doesn’t express themself truly or honestly. I think with anything you do there is a level of honesty that always has to be put into it, especially things creatively. If you’re not speaking from a true place, then I would consider you a poser.
Silky: I feel like it’s somebody who’s trying to be like somebody else and not following what they’re passionate about. Every time you try to be like somebody else, there already is that person, so you’re never going to be that. So stop it.
Benny: Someone who fakes the funk. If you’re truly funky within, you don’t have to fake it. Don’t fake the funk kids.
Button: We love to write produce record our own music all ourselves, the four of us because it is us, it’s what we love to do and that’s who we are. That’s what NBF is. And that’s why people love us because we’re honest, because of that fact. I would say if someone is doing something for the wrong reason, then they’re a poser.
After finishing up the entire Van’s Warped Tour, New Beat Fund will be tour with Blink 182 in September!
9/06 at The Wellmont Theater in Montclair, NJ
9/08 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT
9/10 at Starland Ballroom in Sayerville, NJ
9/11 at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NY
9/12 at Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem, PA
Interview with Itch – Van’s Warped Tour 2013, 7/13 July 30, 2013
Click on the link below to hear our interview with Itch on the Van’s Warped Tour at Nassau Coliseum, NY.
Ballyhoo! at Hard Rock Cafe in Philadelphia July 16, 2013
by Alexandra Froehlich
Friday, June 28, 2013 at the Hard Rock Cafe in Philadelphia is where you could find bands: Versus the World, Authority Zero and Ballyhoo! on their Summer Sickness Tour. As people packed in I got to hang out with Howi Spangler, lead singer and guitarist of Ballyhoo! Ballyhoo! plays reggae rock music with great lyrics and knows how to have fun. Their latest album Pineapple Grenade came out on June 25th and is also a shot which includes:
– 1 oz Stoli Vanilla Vodka
– 1 oz of Malibu Rum
– ½ oz of Pineapple Juice
– Shake then pour
– A dash of Grenadine
They recently had a new single called “Marijuana Laws” that expresses the bands enthusiasm to have marijuana laws banished. The set they played at the Hard Rock in Philadelphia was amazing. They kept the crowd dancing and singing along all night, and had wonderful stage presence and energy. The show overall was a must see. Getting to know Howi was the best part because he is such a down-to-earth guy who plays because he genuinely loves music and to perform. He took the time to answer some questions for Nevermind the Posers.
Ally (AF): Growing up in Aberdeen, MD was there a reggae rock scene? Did you all grow up in Aberdeen together or meet later on?
Howi Spangler (HS): Yeah, the drummer is my brother and J.R., Scott and I met in about 5th grade, maybe middle school. We started hanging out in high school; they weren’t in the band then, but another guy was. He was our bass player, then he left and we got another bass player. But then he left and that’s when we added J.R. and Scott. So we have been this line up for about 10 years. And as far as it goes with the reggae rock scene in Aberdeen, there wasn’t much, but there was a band we loved called Colouring Lesson, and they were playing reggae rock before anyone even knew what to call it. And I fell in love with Sublime and Goldfinger and Reel Big Fish and No Doubt. I just took it all and made my music. So we were really the ones around that area to make it known.
AF: How did you come up with the name Ballyhoo!?
HS: We were kids when we started the band. We were coming up with different names and a friend of ours said you should call your band Ballyhoo, it just means loud noise, crazy events, blatant advertising ‘look at me-look at me’, and it fit because I thought we were loud noise playing in my mom’s basement and it was really colorful in my mind. We just put the exclamation point on there and it was the first flier for our first show.
AF: As a band you have traveled all over North America, which city and state is your favorite to play in and why?
HS: There’s a few; I don’t know if there is a particular favorite, obviously we love playing Baltimore. Philly is always great and we played in New York City last night. St. Pete’s Florida is usually beautiful weather, San Diego, LA, and Hollywood are always great too.
AF: When you have free time, what do you enjoy doing?
HS: I like to play hidden object games on my laptop because I am a nerd, and I like to record demos and what not. I just love creating. I’ve always drawn; I used to draw a lot as a kid. I wanted to write books, draw comic books, create video games, make iPhone apps and of course create music. I write most of the music for Ballyhoo! and some of the guys will also have ideas and we just run with it if it fits with our music style. But we’re always looking to branch out, so we’re not putting out the same album. There are always new sounds to discover.
AF: Ballyhoo! has come a long way since the beginning and have a pretty loyal fan base now, how does it feel when you take the stage at shows?
HS: It feels amazing. It’s definitely uplifting, it’s an adrenaline rush knowing that people are there to hear our songs. To see them singing or screaming our songs back to us, and knowing that you came from sitting on your bed writing them down…the live experience is where it’s at. We try to always put on the best show possible, because when you put on a show the fans pay a hundred percent of the money to see you, so you put on a hundred percent performance. Just try to have a good time.
AF: What is one thing you try to achieve with your music?
HS: It all starts for me with myself. I write things for myself then once they get recorded, they become everyone else’s. Once it goes there, I want to make sure people have a good time, can relate to the songs. This one guy last week actually, came up to me and told me that he was actually in Afghanistan for a year and lost a few of his boys in an IED attack on his convoy. His friends passed right in front of him, and he went through this traumatized stage of his life. He has three kids and a wife, and he wanted to kill himself. He was watching a YouTube playlist or something and “Ricochet” came on and he just stopped. He told me this and I was like that’s really heavy, it’s just like, damn. So when I hear things like that, it’s not about me anymore. Now it’s we have a duty to give this music to give everyone. It’s wild man. I told that man that I was so glad that he was still here. We’re just always looking to promote positivity, just want to make people happy.
AF: If you can say one thing to your fans what would it be?
HS: Thank you, because there is no way we could keep doing this without you guys. We could not make it if they didn’t come to our shows and buy our merch, we just couldn’t do it. We get calls all the time saying that places want to book us because people want to see us and I just couldn’t be more appreciative of that. The fans keep us going.
AF: What is your definition of a poser?
HS: Haha, that’s awesome because poser is such a big word. I used to use it all the time as a kid, I think it’s somebody that doesn’t fully own up to it or whatever he’s trying to do. If you’re going for something, commit. Do it right, go all the way. Don’t do it cause you think it’s cool, do it because you love it. Do it because you’re into it and feel it. Just do you and do what you want to do and whatever you do, give all of yourself. That would be my definition of a poser.
Howi took the stage and rocked it with his fellow band members after that. They played about 15 songs from old and new albums and played “Marijuana Laws”. They took pineapple grenade shots on stage and played two encore songs. If you don’t have your copy of Pineapple Grenade yet, it’s a must get!
On the sound and release of their new album “Love and the Human Outreach”… September 22, 2012
Warped Tour 2012 – July 21 – Nassau Coliseum
DF – David Fowler – Keyboards
SF – Stephen Fowler – Lead Vocals
DTK – Dave the Klone
TNT, as herself
One of the amazing highlights of the 2012 Vans’ Warped Tour was getting to catch an awesome set from, and hang out with Echo Movement, the band from the Jersey shore bringing their own brand of sci-fi to their Reggae / Classic Rock fusion sound. Take 2 parts Bob Marley, 1 part Beatles and 1 part Pink Floyd, and you just start to scratch the surface of what Echo Movement has perfected with their latest album, Love and the Human Outreach. The guys were super cool and more than happy to go into depth on the finer points of what makes Love and the Human Outreach more than just a mind-blowing album, but a scientific work of art.
TNT: So it’s already been featured in CNN, MSNBC, Wired Magazine and other media as a scientific work. Would you explain how this album is a scientific work?
DF: Yeah, absolutely. There are two things in there that would qualify as such, three things if you include the subject matter of the lyrics. The two physical things that are in there, one is…well, actually this is our second album that features binaural beats. What they are essentially are two sinusoidal frequencies that are ever so slightly out of tune with each other. And when you pan one of those frequencies hard right, so that it’s only coming out of the right speaker, and you pan the other hard left, so that it’s only coming out of the left speaker, and then put on a set of head phones, your brain goes through a neurological process where it identifies the algorithm between those two frequencies, and it becomes what we call an audible artifact. It’s something that doesn’t physically exist, but because of a certain exchange among elements, you hear something that may not exactly be there. To get your brain working that way is always a great thing.
DTK: Wow, it sounds like you’re creating a certain kind of big bang in someone’s head when they listen to your music.
DF: Ha. We’d love for that to happen. If there’s any sort of output of energy, or any sort of transformation of energy, I think that’s a beautiful thing and in this case, it’s a cognitive process that’s responsible. It’s pretty fascinating because you can use binaural beats, and they have been used for therapeutic reasons. It’s something we’ve studied for a pretty significant period of time before we used them on the last album. On this one we used them on the first track, “Rising Sunset,” and a little bit on the second track, “Spaceship Earth.” I feel like they put you in a nice relaxed state to set you up for the album, and then you proceed from there.
DTK: That sounds incredible. [Referring to the explanation, as I had not heard the album at this point…but before you ask, yes, those binaural beats worked, and it was so fucking cool.]
DF: It’s a good way of bridging the gap between reality and the world of the album.
TNT: Could you explain Reggae Bubble?
DF: Reggae Bubble is essentially a rhythm that is used commonly in our genre of music, and I guess in our case I’ve updated it or textured it with different sounds, but originally it had started to emerge thirty or forty years ago, if not more. It’s a great rhythm, because the only beat that’s not hit is the first downbeat of each phrase. That’s something that’s awkward and foreign and, for the lack-of-better-words, uncouth to any sort of western tradition of music, where everything falls on the down-beat rhythm.
DTK: So is Reggae something that has always been with you guys, or did it come from growing up in the beach culture? How did you guys wind up in the genre you’re in, which clearly involves a scientific component as well, so I can’t wait to hear how that plays into this to create Echo Movement.
SF: You know, as far as Reggae, Bob Marley Legend was one of the first albums I got when I was younger. We listened to a lot of Bob Marley growing up. We also listened to Michael Jackson, a lot of Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Doors. Those were the big players as far as the soundtrack at our house between ourselves and our parents. Dave, you wanna explain the science-side?
DF: As far as the science, that’s really just something we wanted to do. We were into doing research in different areas that we’re interested in as far as from a scientific point of view, and then just use the genre as the communicative medium through which we express these things. We use it as a vehicle. Regarding the binaural beats, it’s something I discovered two or three years ago, but they’ve been around for something like 70, 80, 90 years, so it’s existed for some time. It’s been used in the medical community as a treatment for certain neurological disorders.
DTK: That’s really cool.
DF: But the real science project on this album comes as a result of spending the last seven years contacting SETI, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence…
DTK: Whoa, really?! Can I just tell you, I am so happy that’s the direction this is going, myself probably more than TNT.
TNT: Haha, yeah.
DTK: As soon as you said SETI, I was like, ‘Ooooooh!! X-Files!!’ So awesome. So, you contacted SETI.
DF: I did. I was looking for any audio they might have that we could possibly use, and I wound up talking to Edna Davore, the Director of Education at SETI. She introduced me to the Keppler mission, which is a space telescope that trails Earth, with the primary goal of discovering exo-planets, or planets outside our solar system. To date, since it’s been launched in 2009, it’s discovered over 2500 planets, as dead-on confirmations. It does this by observing the apparent magnitude of the star, because planets don’t emit light, it has to observe as the planet transits a small cross-section of sky, passing through our line-of-sight between us and the distant star of the galaxy where the planet is orbiting. Passing in front of the star over a period of time will create a discernible pattern. That pattern is charted by an organization called PlanetHunters.org, headed up by a Dr. Debra Fischer at Yale University. So I reached out to her, at Edna’s suggestion, and she was able to talk to me about how to read and understand their charts. So over a period of months, I searched through the data points on the charts until I found some that seemed to me to be sinusoidal, and something that I thought would translate well into music. Then I found a sonification team at Georgia Tech, led by Dr. Bruce Walker, and he put one of his undergrads, O’Riley Winton in charge of putting together a small team of undergrads to help me sonify this data. And over the course of four or five months, working with them, I would say diligently…
DTK: Yeah, I second that, diligently sounds like the right word.
DF: …they came back with some results, and successfully translated this star-data. The data we used in this case was actually a binary star-system, but they still create a series of data points that oscillate at the rate we were looking for, it just had a more consistent, more stable pattern that was easier for sonification. On top of that, we “fitted” the data, which is an idea I borrowed from a Dr. Charles Bailyn, also at Yale University, who was doing a lecture series where he discussed how he would “fit” the data. He discovered radio velocities of stars…so, you know the planet would go around the star, and it would wobble from its center of mass…and he would take those data points, which weren’t as stable because they were Hubble observations, and they used to just “fit” the data in order to make for cleaner digestion of the information.
DTK: So, it used to be inaccurate and they’d fill in the gaps?
DF: Well, it was more accurate eventually, but they were able to draw more conclusions and extrapolate more information from the data they had at the time. Using that information applied to the binary star-system sample we were using, they came up with these sounds. So when I got them back, I composed them into a five-part harmony and put it on the album, and then we dedicated it to Carl Sagan.
DTK: Oh my God, that’s so awesome. So now how many songs is this going to be happening in? I mean people are going to be hearing these star sounds and not even be realizing that this is part of the music, right?
DF: That’s fine. If they don’t understand, that’s absolutely fine. And those who do, more power to them. It’s no problem. At the end of the day, someone made a comment that they could’ve made these same sounds on their CASIO. And I thought to myself, ‘Yeah, so could I have. But what you can’t do, is make those sounds from a binary star-system on the other side of the galaxy.
DTK: I love that you guys are hiding all of these little…I like to call them clues. These would be kinda like, for people like me who watched the show LOST, these would be the Easter Eggs that are being left to explain what’s really going on. I mean, the fact that scientists are actually figuring out where other planets are, and if they’d be able to support human life, and all while we’re sitting here drinking lemonade and listening to music, this is what the universe is throwing around, all around you. I think it’s awesome you guys are incorporating that into your music.
DF: Those scientists make very easy idols. I idolize them, we idolize them, and they’re just fantastic human beings who are looking out for knowledge and the welfare and the progress of humanity. We honor them through our music when we do things like this.
DTK: Congratulations, guys. That is definitely a lot of work, and I can’t wait to hear this for myself.
TNT: What are some of the other bands you guys have seen on the Warped Tour that you’ve liked?
DF: The top of that list is Streetlight Manifesto.
TNT: How about the band name? Can you tell us, does it have any meaning, where did it come from?
SF: We are part of the echo generation. The echo generation are the sons and daughters of the baby boomer generation. Dave thought of the name. He came up to me one day and was like, I thought of this…how about Echo Movement, like the movement of our generation, the momentum that is going to bring about big changes.
DTK: Have you been seeing any of these big changes happening yet?
DF: They happen at the pace of life.
SF: I’ll tell you what, technologically we are moving at such an exponential rate, it’s noteworthy.
DTK: Scary even.
SF: If you think about it, hundreds of years ago, a father would teach his son a skill, I don’t know, how to make an ax or something. And then the son would teach his son, who would teach his son, and so on, and so on. It would always be the same exact method to make the ax; they’d heat the metal to the same temperature, they’d use the same materials, they’d live their whole lives in the same small town. Now, every year we get new cell phones, with completely new applications and completely new technologies and peripherals that we hook up. I mean, it’s like Ray Kurtzweil says, do you know Ray Kurtzweil?
DTK: Of course, the singularity.
SF: Yup, the singularity. Some of the predictions he’s making are just awesome. We’re going to have the human brain mapped out, in another two decades or so he’s estimating, and he’s been right about a lot of things.
DTK: I think I had read that he thinks by 2025 we’ll have the human brain reverse engineered.
SF: I mean, think about that. We’re on the cusp of being able to digitize what a human brain is, and if you can do that, well then what defines a human, what is a human being? Is it a collection of thoughts and memories, are we tissue, are we spiritual or what are we?
DTK: I suggest you check out Battlestar Galactica if you have free time after the tour.
TNT: Oh, God. It’s so not for me. Are you guys’ fans?
DF: No. I think Noles is a fan though.
SF: The only reason I know about it is through friends and now that you mention it, yes I believe that Noles is somehow a fan.
TNT: Anyway, so did you guys catch Streetlight Manifesto today?
DF: Not today, but we try to catch them as often as we can. They’re pretty good friends of ours.
TNT: Have you played together live or on albums?
SF: Dave has.
DF: We played a 5-show run with them in late 2009, and we’ve played with them on a couple isolated dates since then.
SF: When I said, ‘Dave has,’ I meant he’s played on albums with them.
DF: I played on their album 99 Songs of Revolution: Vol. 1, I played the organ solo on “Skyscraper,” which is a cover of a Bad Religion song.
TNT: So, do you think sponsorships are the best way to tour and get around? How did you guys start getting sponsors? Is there a process?
DF: It’s enabling. Any sort of capital is enabling in a capitalist society.
SF: It’s unfortunate that artists have to worry about such things. But the sponsors that we’ve been lucky enough to hook up with are really, really cool. Like Silver Surfer Vaporizors. We hung out with them when we were in Denver. They were awesome.
Don’t forget to order your copy of Love and the Human Outreach, out now! If you hurry, you might be able to catch the limited edition version, which includes a piece of art from Brothers With Glass featuring the album cover-art! Go my friends, be awesome and spread the word and music of Echo Movement. Nevermind the Posers shares new music with you so that you can share new music you discover here with the world.