prognosis show10 8-2-14


“Music is a process where we distill the poison out of our own spirit and transform it into medicine for other people. If you can help just one person through a song, it’s worth all the effort that went into making it.”-@foundlingsband

Listen to the interview:

Jacqueline Jax logo photo

by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio

Biggest accomplishment…
I wasn’t sure how to answer this because artists are almost never satisfied with their accomplishments but as I pondered over the question, I remembered something important. When I was little, about 4 or 5, I had some serious health issues with my lungs. I had whooping cough so bad that I was in the hospital for over a month. Later on, I caught pneumonia after a botched tonsillectomy that left me in an oxygen tent. It took me decades to recover the damaged lung capacity through exercise and therapy. So I obviously wasn’t much of a singer for most of my life and focused on playing guitar. Eventually I grew tired of not being able to hear what was in my head so I practiced until my lungs were finally strong enough that I could sing and I finally had the confidence to sing in public and on record. So, if I can do it, anyone can. Especially since I have songs being played on the Internet now, which is an occurrence that the teenaged me would never have believed possible.

Overall goal…
To be bigger than the Beatles, Elvis, and Michael Jackson put together! It’s a bit of a long shot, I know but I believe that the reason we make music is to create common ground for people to come together and find a better path. Music is a process where we distill the poison out of our own spirit and transform it into medicine for other people. If you can help just one person through a song, it’s worth all the effort that went into making it.

3 ways I challenge myself to reach my goal…
1) I have a two-year old and a newborn, so just staying awake is often a challenge! Navigating the huge responsibilities that parenting brings on forces you to make efficient use of your time, which I haven’t yet perfected. But if I can make music while raising little ones, then so can everyone else. Having kids has made me realize that I want them to remember me as a musician as well as a dad because those are the two most important things in my life.

2) Since I joined SoundCloud, I’ve been exposed to a dizzying array of musical styles which I never would have explored unless other people had shared and re-posted them with me. Electronic music like house, trip-hop, synthpop, and techno had never been on my radar but now I get free samplers of these and other genres every day and incorporating them into my musical DNA can only expand the tools that I use to realize my own musical path.

3) Every day I sit down and play my guitar for twenty minutes. I run through a few scales and arpeggios to warm up but then I try to play something I’ve never heard before. A few tricks that I’ve used to accomplish this involve de-tuning the strings, playing slide with the guitar in my lap, placing my index finger behind the neck so that I can only play with the remaining fingers, using only two fingers to play like Django Reinhardt, or just throwing my fingers on random frets and strumming just to see if anything musical can be extracted from the exercise. The more limitations you place on yourself, the freer you become. It’s a paradox but it’s worth it.

I don’t know why the lightning strikes…
The song basically uses weather phenomena as metaphors for all the cruelties that life throws at us what we can learn to anticipate and avoid with practice but that sometimes we’re struck by forces so random that we have no control over them. Realizing that there are some things in life that we have no control over places us in deeper touch with our own humanity.

Inspiration for the song…
I thought back to when I first wrote the song and it’s been years since that time. I think it grew out of a situation where I was about to be laid off from a job and was unsure where my life was headed. The song is a reminder that when you’re going through a difficult or chaotic time in your life, it’s because you’re about to experience a massive change internally or externally and this is when you need to take the greatest leap of faith possible. Years after I wrote it, my mother and my aunts included the lyrics in a memorial service for my late grandmother so it clearly touches on a very deep spiritual need in the people who have heard it.

The creative process…
The song was recorded track by track. I laid down the drums and the acoustic guitar first on an old Tascam 8-track recorder followed by the bass track. One of the benefits of digital technology is that even my ten-year old Tascam can bounce tracks so I mixed the acoustic, the drums and the bass on to a pair of stereo tracks which freed up the other channels for vocals and additional sounds. I like to have a skeleton of the song rhythmically and harmonically before I lay down melodic ideas. The freed channels allowed me to do lead and harmony vocals, the electric guitar leads and the synth effects that flesh out that skeleton. The main challenge is anticipating where all of this will sit in the mix so that takes some planning out.

Marketing strategy…
I recently set up a profile for the band on ReverbNation because that site seems very in tune with helping a band/artist shape a career from the bottom up. I had initially been reluctant to join up because so much of what they do involves handling a level of professionalism that I haven’t yet attained. The irony is that having joined, the site assumes that you’re constantly looking to take the next step in promotion, sales, touring, merch, etc. and having that presented to you before you plan on doing it can help frame your strategy and avoid a lot of aggravation later on. The other benefit that I found with it is its ability to merge social media platforms so that Twitter, Facebook, SoundCloud, etc. become interdependent instead of stand-alone representations of your band. All of this makes promotion and sales of the single much easier. Once the PayPal account is set up this month, then the website and the Reverb profile will provide commercial access. And then there’s the video…

Music video and the process behind it…
My friend Dan Marquardt is an independent filmmaker here on Long Island who’s documentary won numerous awards in 2013. He’s starting up a sequel to the film and after hearing one of my songs on SoundCloud commissioned me to do the music for the next project so in between shooting his project I’m hoping to get him involved in producing a video. The benefit of the song’s subject matter is that much of the video can be footage of weather, obviously! When we get the shoot rolling, I can send some footage over to AVA LiveRadio.


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