“Our personal definition of success is to be able to do what we love. There is no amount of money or personal possessions that really matters if everyday you have to dread what you are doing.” -@seasonsofmeband
GETTING TO KNOW SEASONS OF ME BAND
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
Getting started in the music world…
GREG: I guess I was kind of born into the music. It has always been in my family. My mother is a phenomenal vocalist. My first taste of live music came at around the age of five. We lived in Kissimmee, FL, at the time and she sang in a bar band on Fridays and Saturdays. I got to go to a few of those shows as well as other outdoor shows to see more professional acts and I was hooked. It really started before that though. At the age of three, I was beating boxes, pots and pans with wooden spoons and that led to the purchase of my first toy drum kit at the age of five.
It was also at around five years old that my mother taught me how to use a turning table and granted me access to an extensive collection of LPs. I mean everything under the sun and across the board genre wise. Trusting wasn’t she? This diverse collection gave me a very broad palate of musical influences. At the age of seven, I upgraded to a more age appropriate kit and was given my first real drum, which was a vintage Ludwig concert snare. At the age of nine, my mother purchased my first real drum kit.
My formal music training began in the fifth grade with the school band program as well as with private trap lessons. Continuing with the school program, I marched with the High School band while still in the eighth grade. I marched countless competitions (four of which were national) and parades (including The Lord Mayor of Westminster’s New Years Day Parade in London, England). During these years I also took up guitar and bass lessons, playing those in the school jazz band, as well as drums. I started gigging with two bands during my final two years of high school.
I was in a bunch of failed bands from that moment on until around 2001. I had gotten burned out a bit at that point and packed the drums away. I did not quit music all together though. I learned the banjo, which was a new instrument for me. I formed a bluegrass band with my mom and cousin. We gigged locally for a while. My long time friend, who incidentally is our producer now, called me up to do some drum tracking and audition for a country band. Two bands and around a dozen or so studio gigs for other artists later, here I am with Seasons of Me.
CAM: I got into music with Seasons of Me, which was really my start to music. I was always singing as a kid and I did choir for a little while. I picked up a guitar from my father. I would write a song here and there, but I never really thought about starting a band. Nic, the bass player, heard a couple of my originals while we were jamming one night and it kind of just spawned into Seasons of Me.
NIC: As individuals, we all started music differently. Some trained via orchestra band and choir while others found passion by simply hearing music. This, however, is not what we think creates a musician. Strong support from friends and family along with a certain love and drive is how musicians are born.
Our personal definition of success is…
GREG: Well let’s see.. Just waking up and being alive is always a great start. Being able to go out and do what we do and at least break even is also good. Bob Marley said: “Money is numbers and numbers never end.
If it takes money to be happy, then your search for happiness will never end”. For me it has never been so much about making a lot of money doing this, but more about doing what makes me happy. Music has always been the constant passion in my life and it always will be. Do not get it twisted, making a little money doing what you love is awesome, but at the end of the day, if we can make a connection with people through our music or a simple conversation, that is success in my book. It is not about how popular you are or how many records you sell. We are blessed to be working with some great companies who are able to help offset some of our operating expenses and others who are able to help with our growth and development as a brand.
Another great measure of success to me is to simply be able to use our talent to help others in our local community. We do several benefit shows each year. Last year, we helped raising over $20,000 to offset the cost of treatment for a local firefighter diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. This November, if everything works out, we will be working on putting together a free show to celebrate my 40th birthday and as a donation drive to benefit The Manna House, a local shelter for homeless vets. I guess to me, success is what you make of it and not so much how others perceive your level of achievement. We are just a group of like-minded guys chasing our dreams. If we can make a difference for someone along the way, put smiles on faces, and positively represent the companies who see enough potential in us to endorse our band, then I would call that success.
CAM: It is to be able to do what I love. There is no amount of money or personal possessions that really matters if everyday you have to dread what you are doing.
We always continue to challenge ourselves…
GREG: Musically there is always room for individual improvement. You simply never stop learning. That part is easy with technology available these days. If you want a new exercise to build on areas of weakness, you can simply look on YouTube and do some wood shedding. Keeping up with changes in social platforms and constantly learning and improving your marketing skills is a big challenge. I think the biggest way that we challenge ourselves as a group though is by breaking into new markets. It is not easy to get booked in markets where no one really knows you. Just getting your foot in the door is tough. Every market has its gate keepers and when they do not want to open the doors, sometimes, you have to get creative and find a way around or over them. Some markets have come easy to us, others not so much.
CAM: Personally, I continue to challenge myself by always wanting to improve my lyrical ability and delivery. Music is definitely one of those things where you are never done learning or evolving. If you find yourself becoming too comfortable, I think the challenge finds you.
Failing is terrifying for us…
GREG: My biggest fear is failure. I have been involved with a number of bands throughout my life. Some of them with a few members who had the same drive and work ethic as me and some not. All of those previous endeavors eventually failed because, in my humble opinion, for it to work everyone involved has to be all in and with those bands, it just was not the case. The other big contributor has always been the big ego syndrome and rock star attitudes. I will say that dealing with these types of people over the years has taught me a great deal about how not to be and about the amount of actual work involved to be successful at any level in this business.
I am in a great place right now with my brothers in Seasons. There are no big egos, no rock star attitudes, and we all have that same drive, work ethic and determination to do this full time. We each bring to the table our own skill sets, beyond the instruments we play, which allows us to split up the heavy work load it takes to run a band like a serious business. We do not have money behind us to hire out daily tasks so it is up to us to handle managing all of the social channels, emails, public relations, graphics, web publishing, gear maintenance, logistics, etc. All of that takes time and then, you balance writing material, recording, rehearsal, performance, photo and video shoots and your day job and personal life. It is an insane load. We pour our hearts and souls into this and failure is not an option.
CAM: I am most afraid of failure. As long as we keep pushing for it and working hard, I do not see this coming to an end. It is definitely tough to keep a band going with the market the way it is, but we will find a way.
We are based out of Johnson City, Tn…
GREG: We are fortunate to have a pretty good live music scene here in Johnson City, TN. We have some great venues, great bands as well as great people who come out to see our shows and support the scene as a whole. My personal two favorite local venues are Capone’s that is located downtown and The Bonnie Kate Theater which is situated 15 minutes away from Elizabethton. When I am not working, playing music, going to shows or spending time with my family I am riding skateboards. It is something I have been heavily into since I was 12. To me, music is art in the audio form and skateboarding is art in motion. It is just another avenue for individual self-expression.
CAM: The scene in Johnson City is really strong here. We have an amazing home town venue named Capone’s and a lot of great bands in our area. The great thing about our scene is the diversity of music from night to night.
NIC: We all live in and around Johnson City, TN even though all of us have lived in different markets around the U.S. Currently, Johnson City has an amazing music scene thanks to great venues like Capone’s and to active sound men and engineers like Alan Prince and Troy Whitson. Other than music, we truly strive to do what we love in many aspects whether if be working hands-on with stuff or spend days as professional tattoo artist just like Cam and me are doing.
CAM: a song that we put together in late 2014. It was one of those songs that just fell together really. The song is primarily focused around how everyone is always telling you what you should be doing and that they would do things differently. We all have those people in our lives and we have to overcome their negativity and keep moving forward.
Social media and its great advantages…
GREG: I am a relatively quiet person in the real world and I am told that I do not say much. However, put pen to paper or better yet, put a keyboard in front of me and the words seem to just flow out. Social media is a natural outlet to me. It is also a huge part of music marketing now. The biggest challenge I have found coming along the use of social media is self-control and knowing when not to speak my mind out on social media. Another challenge is learning how to create quality content for our social channels. Marketing your brand on social media is like a full-time job in itself.
CAM: Social media is a great tool because it allows you to keep in touch with your fans. We personally respond to every comment, post and email we receive. We like for our fans to really know how much we appreciate their support and social media is definitely a great way to do that! I think for every band, the hardest challenge to overcome is the limitations various sites put on our pages.
The emphasis on being current and trendy is omnipresent…
GREG: There is too much emphasis on trends. The music markets are flooded with cookie cutter releases. Everyone plays according to the leaders and I personally feel like they are chasing each other straight down the wormhole. This spring, in our home market alone, we have lost two terrestrial rock stations which allowed us to be getting spins on and to format changes. I believe it us due to a lack of originality. Everything sounds the same. Then, add to that the limited playlists of these conglomerate stations and the ratings go automatically down. What happens when ratings go down? The station flips formats. Labels spend big dollars on radio pushing hits generated by the same formula and it is choking the life out of the rock and hard rock genres in the mainstream markets. We have no label to answer to and we create the music we want to. We also have Internet stations, bloggers and fans who are showing us a lot of love for doing it our way. There is a degree of balance between what is current and trendy in relation to what and how we write our material, but for the most part we just write what we feel.
CAM: I definitely think there are bands that feel pressured into trying to write a certain way. We are fortunate that we all just kind of write the way we write and I guess it would be considered current. We definitely do not want to put a limit on what we can do. Some songs may be heavier and some may be softer. We really try to play according to what the song needs.
NIC: I do not know if you could ever say that there is anything wrong with being “trendy “or as we see it “marketable”. However, this is only skin deep since music should come from the heart and from real life experiences. We find that keeping songs vague in the lyrical content works best for us, because even though it may hit really close to home in our life, the listener may experience something completely different and may help them through problems in there own life. For example, one of our songs is about loosing someone very close to us to cancer and we have had fans on multiple occasions telling us how they were having relationship problems and the song helped them work through their issues and start a new day together.
I would love to have 5 minutes alone with…
GREG: Oh wow there are so many. I am going to go with Jimmy Buffett though because I would love to fly fish and to pick his brain. However, if it ever happens, I would need more than just five minutes. I have always been a huge fan of his music and I started reading his books a few years ago. He is actually a great author. I use quotes from the characters in his books all the time. One of my favorites is “So many people live such dull, predictable lives these days that the real adventurers are becoming a thing of the past – but their stories are like channel markers for the stormy waters of the future.”
CAM: Jacoby Shaddix, Ollie Sykes, or Brent Smith. They are all great lyricist.
NIC: This is a hard question for us since we would love to meet some of our musical influences and learn more tricks of the trade. I would have to say if I only had 5 minutes with someone it would be the loved ones we have lost that inspired us to play music. As musicians, we will always regret that our friends and family who have passed will never get to see our accomplishments and we will never know how truly proud they would be of us.
Season Of Me Band Social Media Links:
Instagram : https://instagram.com/seasonsofme