Emil: Are we talking the music business as a local band
(which I agree with Dave is a cost center) or the bigger industry? The digital age has changed the financial landscape for artists in general. Either way, how I feel about it really isn’t important. Nothing in life that is really worth it doesn’t come without hard work, hard times, tough decisions and overcoming obstacles to achieve your goals and dreams. The local scene and the bigger industry have changed drastically over the years, but I will always gravitate to those artists that are unique and not those that sound like everyone else @ImpendingR
Episode #360 : A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax : http://www.blogtalkradio.com/avaliveradio/2016/09/14/episode-360-ava-live-radio-behind-the-music-with-jacqueline-jax
GETTING TO KNOW IMPENDING REFLECTIONS
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
Emil Belisle (Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion)
Dave Taillon (Guitars, Background Vocals)
Ryan Belisle (Drums, Percussion)
Jon Taillon (Guitars)
Luke Pelletier (Bass, Background Vocals)
Emil: Are we talking the music business as a local band
(which I agree with Dave is a cost center) or the bigger industry? The digital age has changed the financial landscape for artists in general. Either way, how I feel about it really isn’t important. Nothing in life that is really worth it doesn’t come without hard work, hard times, tough decisions and overcoming obstacles to achieve your goals and dreams. The local scene and the bigger industry have changed drastically over the years, but I will always gravitate to those artists that are unique and not those that sound like everyone else.
Ryan: The music industry is in an odd place, it’s been that way for years.
Artists are at a disadvantage with the way that ‘big business’ runs the industry. Streaming services, such as Spotify, give casual listeners the ability to have millions of songs at their fingertips. All of that at no cost to the consumer, beyond pre-roll ads and a few MBs of storage on their phone. The casual listener’s thought process ends there. They don’t think about how the bands are affected when it is so easy for them to have access to the material. This causes bands to rely on touring and merchandise sales to make up for losses on possible record sales. Large-scale record labels in some cases try to craft bands into what sells that display no integrity for the art of music. The music isn’t the issue; it’s the business that creates a rift.
Jon: My favorite part of the music business are the smaller record companies
releasing “underground” metal like Animals as Leaders. However, I’m displeased with the big record companies that release modern pop and rap, sure it’s catchy but there’s really no depth to the lyrics.
Luke: It’s financially great for a listener, not so great for a musician.
But it also gives a lot more room for artists to do what they want as opposed to say 20 years ago.
Emil: Not sure if you mean in the music as in our music or in the music business.
Anyway…Cons? Having to deal with those that put egos first, especially when they shouldn’t have one in the first place…or when bands get taken advantage of financially. Pros are experiencing this band as a family, welcoming fans into our family, performing live, and just the writing process in general. Every experience has helped me grow to become a better musician, performer, and songwriter. Ultimately I don’t focus on the cons. Cons can become pros if you keep things in perspective.
Dave: The pros are the pure adrenaline rush of playing to a great crowd
or finishing a piece of music with IR and knowing you have a better song than what you started with. I have to say that some of the cons are bookings where there is guaranteed money involved but not for your band. That’s all I’ll say about that.
Jon: Pros I’ve experienced with music are being able to share my ideas
and riffs with my band and putting our heads together to make our own music. Playing live is probably my favorite experience because you get to show random people what you’ve accomplished, plus playing in front of a high-energy crowd is “intoxicating” really. Feeding off the energy is a high I’ve never felt before. The cons I’ve experienced aren’t many except for the technical parts like breaking a string on stage (that sucks the worst), blowing a tube on my amp or having your wireless system battery die on stage.
Luke: I’d say the only real con is balancing music with everything else in life,
and even so, it’s not all terrible when music you make can often be influenced by other aspects of what you got going on.
Dave: Personally I think singles and EP’s are not the best use of time & expenses.
“Go big or go home” is more how I tend to think. There is obviously a greater expense with a 10 or 12 song CD but the time you invest will also make it a better product. I’ll demur to Emil on the marketing. He has forgotten more than I will ever know about it.
Emil: Singles are OK and have a place when needed.
You can push one track across all your distribution channels and media outlets fairly quickly. The digital age makes that much easier these days, but you need a plan! A single can be a good teaser as part of your marketing plan for what is to come, but you have to get people engaged…as long as something more is coming and hopefully that something is not just another single in my opinion. Ultimately I prefer an album. The body of work is what I always look forward to from bands I enjoy. It can tell a complete story of where the musicians are at that point in time of their lives and careers. That is if the artist is truly songwriting vs. the too often used formula today that generates generic music. I also love the complete package of a tangible album and the marketing effort that can go along with it. Follow it up with videos and a social media plan to get everyone engaged and spreading the word…try to create a buzz! Ultimately without the fans you are nothing, so stay humble and always show you appreciation.
Ryan: I am indifferent. I think either option is an effective method of attack,
depending on what works best for the artist. I view singles as a standalone track. To me, an album is a collective piece of work where everything is meticulous, crafting the images in your head as you listen front to back.
Jon: Releasing singles is good because it gives fans a taste of what’s coming out,
unfortunately the singles they release are the weakest songs on the album and they lose their glory after a few listens. It’s works out in the long run because typically when the album is released all the other songs are greater than the singles.
Luke: I’m indifferent to it. Maybe releasing singles
for some people is teasing an expectation for what’s to come and they don’t want that? It doesn’t really swing me either way, at least for now.
Emil: I like how you can get yourself out there to the world
and connect directly with fans. They can really get to know you as an artist beyond just the music. It is a great vehicle to get your music out there globally, but you have to do it in the right manner. Most importantly, the music itself and the recording of it have to be good if you are doing this to capture fans. Hopefully they like what you offer and can connect with it. You can really let fans into your world and lives via this medium. Let them get to know you and what you are all about, if you are keeping it real that is (lots of pretenders exist). We take an honest and respectful approach because that is what fans deserve. Social Media is such an important aspect today in overall marketing, but it has to be used in the correct manner to truly be effective. Know when you should be using Facebook vs. Twitter vs. Instagram vs. Snapchat…and so on. They can all compliment one another and should be part of your overall marketing strategy.
Dave: Social media is a great tool to get it out there.
There is a touch of instant gratification that goes along with it. Truthfully, I’m old school. I remember waiting for a new release from an artist and having to go to the store to buy it. But I guess everything changes.
Jon: I think social media is a godsend for advertising bands and music,
what I like most about it is posting up media and seeing the reaction and different opinions you get.
Ryan: Social media is an absolutely crucial medium for bands to communicate with their fan base
and also network. It gives us the chance to share everything we have to offer, including live performances, upcoming shows, and any happenings with the band.
Luke: There’s no wait time for your stuff to be heard or released.
Easier to get in touch with people. Things happen real quick so y’know.
Emil: I pay attention, but really do not go by what is current or trendy.
My writing style is who I am and it is based on past, present, and soon to be future influences. I do not intentionally try to mimic anything or anyone’s style. If anything, I actually prefer to go against the grain. My artistic decisions and ideas are based on what I internally hear for all parts of a song. Yes, the music voices in my head. I may hear a drum beat or fill in my head or something on the guitar or bass, or a way to transition. Then I run them by the band to get their thoughts during the writing process. Together we make it special. The sum of the whole is what counts because everyone offers a high level of talent and influences to the process. That is what makes a great product you can all be proud of.
Dave: We have never been sold on having to play to a particular genre
or following some upstart musical trend. If anything, we’re a throwback to a bygone era. That’s not to say we won’t emulate something we like. With 3 21-year olds & 2 47-year olds you’re always going to get different influences working on the same song. That makes us different
Ryan: I’m sure that some musicians feel the need to conform to what is popular.
I feel like the only genre where that’s needed is Pop because that is exactly what it is, Popular Music. Things that are trendy or relevant have no bearing on my decisions in music. I take inspiration from material that speaks to me. Being able to infuse my original material with my influences is interesting because I often find new influences, which in turn helps shape my style.
Luke: There’s always a need to fit in with a social environment, otherwise you’re alienated;
you’re experiencing full-blown anomie. I think the simple solution to that is apathy. And that’s what’s great about now; you can, for the most part, not care about too much going on around you and you won’t necessarily be THE pariah.
Emil: I don’t dwell on or many times even think of something being a struggle.
Every problem has a solution, so every struggle has a resolution. Most of the time it ends up being a positive. Sometimes you have to look hard or just change your thought process before attacking it. You can’t expect to solve something if you think in the same manner that created the problem in the first place. Each struggle teaches you something about yourself, others, and situations. I feel you need struggles to grow personally and professionally. Life is a learning experience and sometimes the lessons can be straight up difficult to deal with. Don’t let an ego hold you back. For me every struggle becomes a triumph if you have what it takes to pick yourself up and hit it head on. Formulate the best plan you can for a positive outcome. Depending on what the struggle is, having support such as family and friends is extremely important to the process.
Dave: We haven’t had a lot of adversity to date.
We just recently lost our bass player but every band goes through lineup changes. You just have to roll with it. You also have to be patient, especially when working on new music.
Ryan: I focus on the positive things that I am doing while analyzing wrongdoings.
Keeping a positive mindset is incredibly important to having positive result. I learn from my mistakes, and improve any chance that I get.
Luke: I go home and have a good cry.
Emil: I have always tried to live my life not worrying about what others may think.
If you always do what is right you can look yourself in the mirror and like what you see. I can tend to “march to a beat of a different drummer” as they say. In the process I also understand the importance of empathy and treating people with respect, regardless of the labels society pushes on everyone. Don’t get me wrong by the way…I don’t live my life fully on my own terms because the bills do have to be paid after all.
Dave: I live life on life’s terms.
I can no more alter the future or predict it.If you live in the moment it’s not that hard.
Ryan: I try to be rad all day, every day. In the end, we all live for the man.
Luke: I think to myself: “I don’t have kids, I have a roof over my head, food in my belly,
and a lil cash in my pocket, I’m good for whatever”.
Emil: Many come to mind! (The Beatles) John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison
and Ringo Starr because they defined an era, influenced so many, and achieved a status that most likely will never be matched. I would also throw Kiss (original band members) second or maybe even first on this list because they heavily influenced me. Not only musically, but my thought process behind music. They made me realize early on how important a live performance is. They were larger than life for me when I was young and they also defined what marketing and merchandising can be for a rock band. It all starts with good music, but they took it ALL to the next level. Might be where I get my “go big or go home” type of approach. More recent, I would say David Draiman. I am a huge Disturbed fan and I respect his approach towards vocals and creative style.
Dave: Hmmm…..I would have to say Dr. Carl Sagan.
A gifted scientist who take the most difficult to comprehend subjects and make you understand without feeling like a dummy. He was a great author, astronomer, & physicist who died way too young. I suppose the question I would really want to ask him is that for all the understanding & knowledge that he had about our vast universe, why such a devout Atheist?
Ryan: I’d have to say Mike Wengren.
He is the drummer that inspired me to take to the throne once again.5 minutes would be dope, but I know that he is a huge hockey fan. Seeing his team, the Blackhawks face my team, the Capitals, in the city where Disturbed started would be surreal. Him showing me some of the clubs they played before the world succumbed to the sickness while sharing his experiences would be a once in a lifetime experience.
Jon: If I could I would love to spend 5 minutes with Jeff Loomis,
formerly the guitarist for Nevermore now a single artist. He is my biggest influence for guitar, I’m amazed at his abilities and I aspire to play as fast, melodic and fluent as him one day.
Luke: Either Sunny Levine or Tom Ianseck.
Both such cool dudes that make absolutely phenomenal music. They seem like such normal guys and then you pop some headphones on and listen to some if their stuff and you think, “Woah, I’ve felt this before”.
Emil: Oh man my love for music started way back. I was probably 5 or 6.
The Beatles, Kiss, and Grand Funk Railroad really grabbed my attention and it just took off from there. I knew I didn’t only want to listen; I also wanted to be the one creating. I tried a few instruments early on, but when I sat behind the drums…I was home. I have been in a few bands over the years doing covers and originals, but always more focused on writing original material. I truly enjoy being able to express my personal experiences and/or observations through music. I took up the acoustic guitar several years ago in order to start writing on my own. Self-taught, so I do not consider myself a guitarist. It allows me to get my ideas across more effectively for a foundation/structure and the band turns it into so much more. A drummer for most of my music career, I have since turned the sticks over to my son Ryan to become the front man for I.R. A bit of a transition, but it is a blast. Impending Reflections gives me the unique opportunity to do something I’m passionate about with my son and also my music brother Dave, and his son. Yes, Impending Reflections is literally a family. This started off as what we called a generation jam, but there was a spark. Dave (who I have been writing music and in bands with for over two decades) and I initially thought we would take the opportunity to teach our sons how to write and perform. It didn’t take long to see something special was happening. Impending Reflections was born! Dave jokes that it is tough to find good musicians, so we had to breed our own. We recently had to say goodbye to our bass player, which was difficult as he is like a son to us. He decided to join the military and is starting the next chapter in life. I have much respect to him for that decision and for all those brave men and women serving our country. We just recently added a new member, Luke, to the I.R. family! Overall, being able to write and perform live with all these guys…well that is what I call living the dream!
Dave: The guitar part after the 3rd chorus in Boston’s “Peace of Mind”.
I had to know how to play it! I was 9 or 10 at the time.
Ryan: Music has always been around my life.
Growing up with drums at a young age, thanks to my father, was important. Having them around at such a developmental point of my life planted the seeds in my brain for what is now my main passion. It took some time for them to sprout, as I didn’t become committed to playing and learning until I was 14. Disturbed is the band that triggered that spark. Hearing the ‘Believe’ and ‘Ten Thousand Fists’ records opened up the path that was previously unchartered for me, Metal. Experiencing the way these bands explored sonic airwaves pulled me in and never let go. Not just drumming, but music, as a whole has become such a crucial part of my life because of it.
Jon: I started playing guitar almost 10 years ago
if I remember correctly. I tried to earlier on in life but my priorities were somewhere else so my old acoustic sat in the corner of my room for about 2 years. As my taste into music expanded further I found myself to be inspired by my father’s guitar playing and the guitarist for my favorite band Disturbed, so one day after school I’m bored out of my mind and I decide to pick up my guitar again. When I did, felt like something clicked in my head and that’s really where it all started for me.
Luke: My dad’s records. Mostly kept to myself as a kid
because I never cared about much but I had always liked listening to music and trying to match pitches, voices, and sounds and I guess that developed into an interest in playing music.
Ghosts in the Mist
Dave: It’s about a band that unknowingly sells their souls to the Devil
(disguised as a promoter) in order to achieve fame and all of its fringe benefits.
Emil: I’ll elaborate even further on this one.
Ghosts in the Mist is based on a local published comic book series entitled Hellion that was created by a local comic author, Jim Savard. Jim has been a good personal friend to the band. One day Jim, Dave and I were talking about how it would be cool to try and bring Rock and Comics together. I believe Jim initiated the idea. His comic is based on a rock band with a horror twist and an 80’s type feel to it. It seemed to be a no-brainer for us to consider writing a song loosely based on it, even though we had never written in this manner before. I read the comic series for inspiration and started from there. While the song is loosely based on the comic, I also wanted to incorporate a parallel and deeper meaning in the process. Telling the story of those that will do anything for success and would even sell their souls to reach the top, even though it may be unknowingly at the time. Being guided by an industry or individual that will promise you the world, but ultimately at a price that can become too difficult to repay. Getting you to a point where you begin to wonder what it is all for. You can loose sight of the reasons why you chose the path in the first place. Causing an inner search to determine if the fame and fortune is more important than your integrity. The song leading to a point lyrically where in this case, the band takes a stand and chooses their own path to what they now know is their promised land. Ending with the same cycle of innocence signing their life away for the dream they hope to achieve.
Emil: OH yea…there is a backstory!
Dave: A great story behind this one. As Emil explained and I can confirm,
we were approached by “Hellion” Comic book author Jim Savard to write a song conceptualizing his first volume comic book. The song loosely captures the essence of the book as well as you can in 3 minutes. This “Rock & Comic” relationship has paid dividends for both of us, helping to garner additional exposure. We filmed a video for it in May 2015 that was a lot of fun. Jim & his son Trevor star in it.
Emil: I already covered the meaning of the song and how it came about in the previous question,
but during the writing and recording new stories emerged. Since we were basing this within the setting of the comic, I wanted it to have a throwback feel and Dave agreed. I wrote the lyrics and had the complete melody for the song. I then drove Dave crazy singing it over and over and asking him to now write guitar parts to it. Much different than how we typically write. It was an awesome experience that was mixed with laughs and frustrations. Dave was overthinking it at times and I kept saying just keep it simple…a straightforward 80’s type rocker. Dave did an awesome job dealing with creating integral guitar parts based on a predetermined melody, ideas I had for the structure and transitions before any music was written. He never ceases to amaze me and I give him credit for putting up with me for so many years. Once we had the foundation down, the entire band added their talents and it became much more than any of us thought it would to be honest. In the studio it came together quickly, but ran into a little snag. Jon was going to develop a solo for the song, but it ended up falling onto Dave at the last minute. Well he jumped in and rocked it! We intended to record this to just be a stand-alone single since it had a throwback feel. We figured it would be used strictly to promote the comic book. It was not originally intended to be on our full length CD “Kindred”. It has gotten such a positive response from listeners, that we’re happy we decided to include it as the final track. As Dave said, we even did a music video for it that is definitely worth checking out!
Emil: Our current full-length album “Kindred” is very special to us
and many listeners have been able to really connect with it. We are blending two generations of influences into something that is difficult to categorize from what we have been told, but in a very good way. We focus on the storytelling aspect of songwriting and the melodies. Creating those hooks that keep you coming back for more. I personally like dynamics and don’t feel you need to fill in all the space and frequencies with sound. The guitar, bass and drum work is polished with everyone having their shining moments and hooks. The tracks touch upon many topics that listeners really can connect with. As people we all share some similar life experiences and many can at least relate in some manner to those they haven’t. We all have several perspectives that align or contradict with one another. Either way a connection happens through music. Whether we are talking about social, business or political topics (Worlds Collide, Viral Society, House of Gables, Ghosts in the Mist), various addictions and life choices (Dead Black Roses, So Alone), abuse (Medicinal Crime), reflecting on life (Gotta Be Me, I.R.), relationships (Sweet Susan, Mamacita), or even just being in a hard working local band (The Road)…all our songs have a deeper meaning to us. I tend to write in a metaphoric style, so many of our lyrics can take on different meanings. It really depends on how the listener interprets it and applies it to their experiences. I think that is the beauty of it all. I.R. has been a real organic journey. This album was significant for us because it marked an accomplishment we never even thought of when this started. With that being said, we are continuing to evolve our sound and style. I think the newer material maintains our foundation style of writing, but is beginning to move down a different path that is taking it to the next level. We are in the process of breaking in our new bass player (Luke) and are excited to hear what he brings to the table as we begin to write more new material. We plan to release our second full-length album in 2017 and taking the time needed to pay attention to all the small details.
Dave: “Kindred” is a great first venture.
Its final production was better than we had anticipated. We are in the early stages of writing for the next yet-to-be-named album. All I can say is that this one will be a departure from the first, a little more modern, a new bass player, and a few surprises.
Ryan: With our new material, I think people will hear refinement.
It will be an example of our progression not just in song writing, but also technical ability. I know that I will be pushing my own boundaries in ways that will enhance songs and accent what other members of the band are playing.
Jon: To describe our music is very difficult
actually because we’re not one specific sound or genre. You could say our main niche is rock but there’s more to it. The influences and writing style between each band mate is different. Our singer and lead guitarist grew up in a different generation as opposed to our bassist, drummer and I. They are influenced by bands such as Boston, Kiss, Iron Maiden and Blue Oyster Cult, which they interpret that into their writing. I will add our singer is also big in to current material such as Disturbed and Twelve Foot Ninja. Everyone else including me is influenced by metal such as Disturbed, Periphery, and Lamb of God. So for our music we have two generations coming together to get a unique blend.
Luke: I mean, I’m brand-spankin’ new to IR so, in terms of the stuff we have now,
I think a listener can expect to hear some really cool dynamics and ripping vocals done by Emil as well as super clean guitar technique. But for the album coming up, we’re focusing on writing some serious jams.
Emil: The band calls Providence, RI home and the music scene seems to be doing well.
I.R. has been fortunate enough to be given a number of opportunities to play in support of some great local bands and several national touring acts, along with headlining some great shows. There are a lot of great people on the scene and we have made a number of good friends in the process. We are really still breaking into the scene and building a fan base. We strive to be playing all around New England (MA, RI, CT, NH, etc.) and beyond. Hoping to get our music to everyone around the globe that is willing to give us a chance and take a listen. There are tons of great places to go in Rhode Island from incredible venues to catch local music to awesome restaurants to breathtaking coastlines.
Dave: I live in Warwick, RI, which is just south of Providence.
The Indie music scene in RI is generally centered in Providence or just outside of it. Live bands performing covers is nowhere what it used to be like in the 1980’s. Original music performing bands are plentiful, but the Providence, RI scene seems to be geared more towards hardcore metal.
Ryan: I live in Woonsocket, just outside of Providence, Rhode Island.
The Providence music scene has multiple local venues as well as larger clubs, such as Lupo’s. Having venues where local bands have the opportunity to strut their stuff is definitely an advantage.
Jon: I live in Burrillville Rhode Island and the music scene here isn’t really that great.
Everyone here practically listens to country, which isn’t all that great in my opinion. Truth be told I don’t really go out much over here so I’m unaware of any venues to play although I’m positive there has to be a few bars around.
Luke: I live in Narragansett, RI. The music scene is back and forth.
URI Musician’s Guild and the Coffeehouse will put on some really cool shows but it’s pretty difficult organizing cohesive shows either on a rented property or at someone’s place. A ‘show’ is, for many people, synonymous with a ‘party’ and, being a college town, of course neither police nor neighbors are willing to let that fly, no matter how many times you emphasize that the goal here is to build a community centered around local art.
Dave: I am somewhat ambivalent towards it. I do it because I love it.
Living without it wouldn’t really be living. At this stage it is a cost center and we all work very hard to help fund it & make it happen.
Social Media Links:
iHeart Radio: http://www.iheart.com/artist/impending-reflections-887060/