Billy Brouse is a founding member of Papadosio, a band that has enjoyed tremendous success playing a unique blend of electronic jam band music at major festivals and concert venues, including a recent performance at Red Rocks.  Billy plays keys/synthesizers for the band, and he joins Joe McMurray and Aaron Sefchick on the show to talk about Papadosio, music festivals, the band’s use of Ableton Live for both songwriting and live performance, other bands on the scene, and synthesizers.
Billy tells the guys about his musical influences.  Then he recounts the story of how he and the other guys formed Papadosio and decided to tour full-time.  He tells Joe and Aaron about their very own festival, Resonance Festival, which occurs this Sept 19-22, 2019 (https://www.facebook.com/ResonanceMusicFest/).
Next, the guys talk about Papadosio’s approach to songwriting and how they use Ableton Live to write and record from their own homes and on their own schedules.  Billy explains how the band uses Ableton Live in their live performances and provides some detail into how he uses PADs.
Billy, Joe, and Aaron touch on the subjects of gear damage/theft/insurance, practicing, and injuries before moving on to talk about Billy’s favorite bands on the scene.  Billy finally runs through his favorite synthesizers and effects pedals.
 
Welcome to another episode of Fret Buzz The Podcast. My name is Joe McMurray and
I am Aaron Sefchick. And today we have the keyboard/synthesizer player from Papadosio
Billy Brouse. He is joining us from Asheville, North Carolina. For our
audience, I went and saw Papadosio performing in Virginia Beach, two to three
months ago at a newer venue called Elevation 27. I was front row and had
a blast and a half. I’ve actually performed there before and I knew where
the band had to exit the building. I snuck around back after the show and
waited for somebody to come out and Billy happened to be the first guy that
walked out and snagged him up and yeah, we’re excited to have you in to talk
about, you know, keys and synthesizers and Papadosio and the jam band scene and
festivals and all of it. Alright man. Well, I’m glad I’m
the one that you caught and you should be glad too. Because I like to think of
myself as the most fun. The most fun person the band? And none of them
will watch this so doesn’t I could say that yeah we don’t have to edit that out
god this good there’s the most boring person in the band it’s your brother
probably I don’t know you but I don’t know the same side you maybe I’m
actually the most boring person just depends on when you catch me I think and
you caught me at the right time but getting off stage energy is always
always a good time to catch someone yeah I think
yeah well uh so we on this show we love to really dig into you know deeper ideas
of music and one thing I want to just jump right into is we we’ve had we had
one of the managers from the Moog Factory in Nashville came on and we’ve
talked about synthesizers more from a technical standpoint but we’ve not
really had a piano player have weird not that I know of no yeah so would love to
talk about I guess the best place to start is just when did you start playing
music was piano your first instrument yeah let’s go from there
well that’s that’s actually a really good place to start
because I I did not play piano originally okay
I played acoustic guitar hmm I was that kid around campfire playing Jack Johnson
or Dave Matthews right you know just because it was fun I guess I actually
started playing cello first alright but remember like in elementary school and
hey you can join an orchestra like do it why not
and your parents were like yeah you’re doing this yeah yeah and then I
eventually turned the cello this way I started playing but it was like 1994
when Green Day’s hit album Duke you came out mm-hmm and so I just turned it this
way and started playing like power chords on the cello and then realized
that I was just playing guitar the most part you needed a man to cello yeah
would have been perfect yeah so I started playing guitar instead and then
my younger brother Sam I like taught him how to play a couple chords and you know
he’s pretty much my best friend the universe so we he teaches me things I
teach him things automatically guitar then he just
I had a no we’re just was amazing at the piano my grandmother bought him a Yamaha
digital stage piano and he just went in the basement went to town on it for like
a year straight I probably didn’t see him for months and then he came out of
the basement it was like an athlete piano now so he taught me how to play a
couple songs and then I realized that you can make whatever sound you want on
synthesizers and keyboards so I kind of stopped playing as much guitar and just
started making sounds and samples the it it’s just it was it was very freeing
yeah so finally know what that sound was like
a new yes like I grew up listening des I never really knew what that sound was
that was happening and then I might you know once you see it out it’s like oh
cool well this is what I’m doing forever yes do you know did you jump like
straight to more synthesized sounds or did you play like clean piano
I mean keyboard piano whatever but what I played III I got the fundamentals on
piano and then I mean the story of how sabado seals basically formed is from me
buying my first synthesizer in absence Ohio and I met Anthony at a party and I
was like hey man I seen you playing and bands around town I just bought this
synthesizer maybe maybe we should hang out sometime
and he’s like cool what is it it’s a Juno 106 I got for 150 dollars which is
insane and it was great he’s like oh cool I’m
about to buy one out of the flat spots tomorrow’s like no thought I bought it
like this is it and he’s I like to think that he
wasn’t using me just for that synthesizer but that was that was my
first synth experience was there and anthe and I dove into it and he was a
young guitar then yeah primarily guitar right yeah yeah yeah he was playing lead
guitar a couple bands in town but uh once I like push the cut-offs on that
Juno I was like oh all right well this is that’s it well yeah before that I was
just piano letting a few stickit are you said when you push the cutoff on the G
know what is yeah so the cutoff is the the filter it cuts off it the well Juno
has a high-pass filter and a low-pass filter once I push the low-pass filter
up which is the WAP you know mm-hmm sound I was like that’s it enhancing
once you make that first because it you can you can just using a filter if it’s
if it’s the right filter on the right synthesizer you can make it sound
however you want it’s kind of like it’s kind of like if you’re playing guitar
like finger picking gently you know like just plucking the strings more gently
it’d be like pulling the filter down okay – and I never knew that you could
do that I mean it you can do it on piano if you play gently but this was a an
electronic instrument and before I touch the cut off I just thought it was just
like this big box with keys on it you know yeah I’ve unfortunately I’ve never
had like a real synth I’ve got my little Yamaha keyboard over there that you
might be able to see mm-hmm it’s just like that you know oh yeah yeah it’s all
well PS are 282 it’s it sounds terrible but whatever was fine what’s
yeah it definitely does that it sounds cool if you hook it up to like a an
external reverb tank or something with some effects on it everything sounds
good through a bunch of rebirth that’s true which is great there’s nothing
wrong with that yeah I’d love to get my hands on I got to play some of the mugs
at the factory and like enjoyed myself playing like the chameleon bassline I’m
one of the best that’s actually the first song Sam taught me out of play
it’s honor he I know and now I only play in in default my favorite he is b-flat
yes of that ah it’s it is so simple and such a good bass line
yeah and you can just tee off on it it’s great yeah as soon as you play that like
I played it last night of my shows as soon as you start playing that line
people right then my head’s like oh I know this song I don’t know what it is
but like most people don’t know what it is but they love it Herbie Hancock he’s
a master of mastery are you do you listen to a lot of Herbie Hancock not
really just seems like one of those first like early
I mean headhunters I listen I have it on vinyl like I listen I’ll put it on yeah
I feel like it’s one of those I’ve listened to so many times that they can
just be like NPR you know in the background yeah yeah yeah that’s awesome
that you uh you brought your younger brothers the one that brought you around
to the to the keys yep what do you got yeah he went to school
he’s like a you went to Skidmore up in New York
mm-hmm for jazz theory but then dropped out as any good jazz musician musician
does I kind of did that yeah there you go and join the band my mother wasn’t
too happy about it I think she’s okay with it now yeah things turned out
pretty good for him seems like so far I hope so
yeah drat I remember somebody one of our professors at George Mason in the jazz
programming he told us like if you want to be a jazz musician in New York City
go to New York City and be a jazz musician probably you probably don’t
meet have to be in class here with me just go and learn from find the best
players and play with them I mean there’s only so much Inez
again I have never taken like a jazz I’ve taken music theory but not like
jazz theory but it seems to me like any lesson I’ve ever given ended in that oh
is that what you want to do why don’t you just go do what are you doing what’s
it’s helpful to understand it all I you know when I’m improvising over if
somebody puts a chord progression like take chameleon the B flat minor seven to
an E flat seven you know you just know your options of what you can do to
improvise over it and so that you can keep it interesting you don’t run dry
from ideas right right no I’m the same once you know that though there’s like a
whole other headspace that you have to get into to be able to improvise in
front of people I don’t know just doing it and just don’t stop you talking about
like when you’re actually playing a show like rather than sitting there thinking
about the theory you have to be able to get into a totally different mindset
with band on that and maybe it’s just more of like the whole lifestyle that
like if you want to be a jazz musician or any musician at all no one’s to teach
you how to be able to live that life I think that’s what I’m saying that’s very
true you have to play a lot of you have to put you know specifically practice
jazz listen to jazz also see how long you can be
uncomfortable on tour and if you can last until you’re comfortable then you
did it do you do you guys did you have a period where you were touring and you
were not comfortable with pop don’t you just physically uncomfortable like you
know five shows a week six shows a week in a van ah that’s what I’m talking
about sleeping on floors and you guys still have to do that where do you have
dude I’m 34 there’s no way I could do that when I was like 22 it’s great yeah
definitely not sleeping on floors anymore
yet what a hotel room and you have like do people house you um yeah a hotel room
for the most part yeah that’s a little a little fancier than the van yeah there’s
something nostalgic about sleep so how old were you when you met Anthony dog
Martin – okay – 21 somewhere in there I was in college and you were both in Ohio
yeah we were all in Athens okay so can you keep going with us to like where
didn’t you got Anthony to play with you can you how did the band become Papa
dosia from there well there was uh there was this bar slash venue called Jackie
O’s it’s still there in Athens and they had this thing called an open jam which
is like open mic jump sure you’ve been to an open jam and
we just all kind of started playing together there you picked up other like
bass player and drummer at the jam kinda yeah like they showed up at Mike our
drummer was in this band called skeleton which who’s like a huge amazing black
metal band now like they’re from Athens too so he showed up and played he can
play anything he’s he’s unreal he showed up one night and Anthony and I were like
kind of looked at each other like during you know during the the jam where
there’s no rules and so we ended up talking to him after and then Rob was in
couple bands in Athens again he just showed him the yeah the bass player and
then he just showed up one night and plays and it all just kind of clicked
and then so we just kept going every Wednesday and all of us would show up
and it just kind of became a thing and you it you were playing original music
or replated anthony sang or was now it’s just all improvised instrumentals pretty
much I mean most of it was probably really bad but you know like we were
having fun and it clicked and a bunch of people started something where you just
like calling out a key or chord progression and yeah pretty my own with
it yeah yeah it’s really fun yeah so it started out from a place of fun and
smiles and then one day we were like hey let’s just start a band and we did and
we rehearsed for a year straight like before we played any show
which was I think a good move I remember sitting
down and we have the conversation where it was like so this is what we’re gonna
do are you guys in if we’re going to do
this do this because I mean I was going to school but I wasn’t going to do it
for music but we have the conversation let’s go and here we are
Wow it’s kind of it was kind of weird to think about it takes I think every band
needs to have that conversation if you’re gonna do this be like you ready
cuz we’re gonna do this this is it nothing else
let’s go and luckily we were young enough what constituted let’s do this
what was that like what was that decision about like what we’re just
gonna go on the road or work on a how what what did that make that decision of
let’s do this because obviously like you said that’s a very serious conversation
that all band members need to be on board with but what took you from point
A to point B well I mean that was point B was a couple years after point A
obviously it was more like so this is our job and we’re gonna this you’re not
gonna go work for a bank somewhere right great your MBA but the but so previous
to this discussion were you guys doing tours outside of that so that that
decision was we’re gonna start touring now or no that’s the the we’re gonna
start as an and we’re gonna make this happen that takes a lot of guts
basically it wasn’t that we had not we hadn’t played a show really maybe we
played like two shows maybe it was like a year and a half into knowing each
other and having the confidence to be able to have that conversation you just
knew that you had you had rehearsed your material and you really thought
you had something that could you know make you money you know get big I didn’t
know that we would get big but I knew that its speaking for me that I had a
really great time doing it and the friendship was there which is the big
pretty much you know that’s the biggest thing you’re gonna have that so that was
all there and yeah I I just I think we all figured like why not like what else
so how did you you decide you’re gonna be a band and do this full-time did you
then you didn’t have any shows on the books it sounds like how did you start
getting shows did you hat did you record any was it my greenery the first albums
and then start promoting that to clubs did you start locally and build outwards
did you get a booking agent no well we did everything ourselves at first
firk for a long time like I said we rehearse like I said like for about a
year and our first show was in Kent Ohio which is where I’m from originally not
in Athens we figured we’d try it out somewhere else other than our college
time and it went well and then we just Anthony Anthony was really you know
let’s let’s go and he was basically the he was reaching out to a lot of people I
knew some people and we just did it that way for like four years maybe and then
we got a booking agent and that was Xena that’s that was that was great
didn’t have to possible to get gigs anymore even though
we kinda you know were you playing like local clubs like when I was playing I
was in a few bands in Washington DC and we’re mostly playing original music and
some of it definitely got into jam band territory so not the kind of thing that
like your typical you know bar where the party bar wanted you know we weren’t
playing cover songs and you know top 40 or nineties rock whatever so yeah so we
had to play these places where we actually they’d pay you based on how
many people you brought and that sort of thing so we you know is it was difficult
because even your best friends don’t want to come see you that often and
stand up teaming up with other bands to split the bill did you guys do that kind
of thing sure we also just played original music the whole time though
we never likes we split the bill with local acts of course and never really
burned any bridges which was very very important we never we knit we never
played you know top 40 songs and I’m not trying to talk shit on that cuz I am
writing a pop songs it’s definitely not easy I’ve tried to do it yeah but yeah
there was a point I think when my friends like I stopped recognizing
people in the audience you know they mean was one I was like okay cool
yeah they’re not just coming because they’re my friend which was really nice
I still I still don’t really believe it like I see you people out there I’m like
they’re just coming Fitz I we’re friends that never really went away yeah it’s
gonna be it’s gonna be nice to you know anywhere you go there are people that
come out and they’re just like super pom – well not everywhere what are there
certain hot I mean obviously I’m sure places like Asheville er are good for it
but other certain dead spots and then states yeah
Kansas that makes sense Nebraska Aaron sounds like you’ve been to Kansas a lot
of corn in Kansas and I’m not trying to talk that much shit on Kansas yeah
there’s there’s dead spots and there’s dead spots during the week – you know
like it’s nice to have the luxury to be able to say no we’re not gonna play
Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday in a certain town but we didn’t you know we
didn’t used to we played Monday in Fargo we’ve played
Tuesday in Lincoln Nebraska you know I mean and that’s what I was talking about
when I said like it’s great to be able to improvise for sure obviously but
playing on Tuesday night in Lincoln Nebraska your first time there no one
can teach you how to be able to handle the fact that there’s not gonna be any
way there and you’re gonna have to find a floor to sleep on you’ll probably make
some great friends in the process but you’re not gonna make any money and it’s
gonna suck but you’re gonna get through it
hopefully just enjoy the performance yeah first right hanging out with your
friends yeah that’s what it’s all about Aaron which one is which one of those
guitars is your favorite guitar probably my strat nice yeah yeah I enjoy that one
the most that’s the one I’ve put the most hours behind I think that’s the
only one I’ve ever seen you perform on it’s the only one I really trust you
gotta have I have a keyboard that I trust and I have to have it Oh what do
you what are you playing now well my go-to
is an access virus di it’s just I I can load all of my patches
on there no matter like if I get a backline one of us I just use my I think
they’re here load everything right on there and it’s just it’s like it’s the
same one that I have yeah gotta have that if I don’t have that then I’m not
playing the show so I guess I have a question in terms of how do you guys
specifically you and your brother how do you guys kind of interweave between each
other how does that communication go so you guys don’t really trample on top of
each other well sometimes it doesn’t work the grand engagement it’s really
tough well he plays more you know piano and
Wurlitzer and Rhodes sounds I try to stay away from those are you
more like strings and pads and well yeah strings pads and leads and yeah pretty
much okay and and percussive things like if we do an acoustic set he plays piano
I play bagra folk okay that look that makes sense you know like I
vibraphone can have a wonderful background sound or right in the front
sound which is how I trying to play my synthesizers you know I can oh it’s time
to not do the pad alright then let’s go let’s make it happen but I’m just kind
of they’re not backing everyone up all the time but we also have talkback
microphones which is really great so that we can I’m like alright Sam I’m
gonna take I’m gonna take one right now so chill on b-flat
that’s awesome that’s cool and the crowd can’t hear that right
which is great that was a game-changer but I honestly at this point I don’t
think we would even need that I’ve done we’ve done shows without it and it’s
it’s worked out on average how many a shows a year do you do a shot live shot
in the dark right now probably let’s say 2019 I would say 9d shot in the dark 90
okay I’m really bad in that so but those are big I mean not all it doesn’t it
actually doesn’t sound gets to me it doesn’t sound like that many shows but a
Red Rocks performance is worth like a lot more than one one show in my book
yeah and a lot of gray hairs to it but I mean we used to do you know like 200
yeah yeah we like you know six years seven years in a row
yeah that’s I’d say okay other than Red Rocks what are some of the biggest shows
festivals that you guys are playing this year well the biggest one and the one
that I’m I’m gonna preface this by saying like you know we played a million
festivals I love festivals but now I like our
festival I like to be able to be comfortable at a festival give them you
know a nice sound check and that’s why I like resonance resonance will be the
biggest one we play this year for a reason because we care about it like if
you want to book me at your festival look I say your best will will come play
it but it won’t be won’t be the same it’s something that you have a hand in I
mean where is this festival it was it used to be in Columbus Ohio and now it’s
it’s moved to Pennsylvania I actually haven’t been to the grounds yet what
part of Pennsylvania it’s like in between Cleveland and Pittsburgh so it’s
it’s west of Pittsburgh okay so not too far from Ohio no no not at all it’s a
Cooper’s Lake it’s what the new grounds firstly we’re sick is it like a big
campground or farmer yeah well the only thing I know about it is that they’re
you know what LARPing is no I’m a live-action role-playing oh yeah yeah
not that I’ve ever done it but I write well you know but you don’t have to say
it on air if you don’t love Larkin I’m not afraid to say it on here are the
school but there’s the title are bang festival there for like 20 years or
something I guess and so in my mind like they want to be comfortable and like if
you’re gonna beat the shit out of each other with swords you know like you want
to be able to do it in nature and have a nice cabin and there’s a lake there so I
think I just I have a I trust nerd space outside and the guys who throw the
festival with us have been there and I dressed them there won’t be a gravel
dance area which is very important did there will be there will not be because
the place the residents used to be
squirt where the crowd was scrabbling and that’s at least I don’t see one
grass happy hippies like grass it’s true because if you’re barefoot it’s a little
uncomfortable to dance on gravel and you don’t want to get a
rock stuck in there TiVo’s yeah Birkenstocks larping that cracks me if I
I mean I’m not I’m totally cool with I like love Game of Thrones and Lord of
the Rings and all that stuff I’ve just never actually gone as far as you know
dressing up I mean not haven’t either but I mean I would I guess I’ll try
anything once yeah I don’t know if my wife would be
happy if I I did that if you LARP if I laughed if you talk
when you get done with this you should be like hey BAE I’m gonna go to lark the
night it’s like some weird it’s like oh yeah that’s when you first said it I had
no idea what you what it was well I’m showing my my nerdiness with
that let’s see you guys are you guys are teaming up to do this with another set
of guys or so is this something that you guys are putting on or how’s this how
are you good because you you’re putting a lot of emphasis in terms of how the
resonance is going to be something that you’re very proud of and it’s the big
one for you guys it’s like I said is this something that you’re teaming up
with another set I do or yeah the production company is called essential
productions they’re based out of Cincinnati they’ve been friends of ours
for a long time if you’ve ever seen us in Cincinnati
that’s who put the show on we it’s it’s really hard to throw a festival as a
band just the band we used to do that it was called rewire and it was great it
was a magical time I think it helped that we were so young and didn’t really
care about money didn’t care about anything but now we have other people
who do care about those things so we can put our creative spin on it and not have
to worry about the back end
which is amazing and I can’t even believe I’m saying I
don’t know if I’ve said that yet it’s yeah they they give us luckily some some
control over certain things and some control you know we don’t get all of it
obviously but we’re trying to make festivals eclectic again not have and
I’m not trying to I’m not trying to talk about any festival I am just a little
bit jaded I’ve been to every single one and I’ve played most of them and I just
we just kind of want to you know mix it up a little bit like mix up the the
types of music that are being played types of music and the yeah for the most
part I would say yeah and and again like I don’t get to choose everything that’s
there because if I did know one cup it would be like me and you that’d be great
it’s so fascinating me cuz you guys are like the quintessential festival sound
in my in my head like are we that yeah I mean to me that kind of like late night
you know it’s you guys play this like space rock jam band it’s this electronic
fused improvisation music it’s like what I imagined a bunch of people like
swaying and bobbing their heads to in the woods and then you know it one
o’clock in the morning well then it makes sense that we would have some sort
of creative control over if ice water yeah but it’s interesting to me that you
guys being the sound that I hear in my head for a festival you are trying to
change that you know mix it up well like I I don’t know what you think kind of
music I listen to well like I
the weird stuff like there’s a reason why we we play accessible weird music I
would say and yeah I know that we are we do have a sort of sound there’s a reason
for that it’s because all of us listen to on you
know on our own time weird stuff but then when it all comes together it’s we
try to make it accessible for each other in the band and then accessible for that
kid over there who is tripping his balls off for sure and doesn’t want to hear
some Miles Davis right now we doesn’t like I dig it
he doesn’t want to hear Square pusher right now let’s see its head oh it’s and
and thank you for saying that we are that that band that you think of is team
that’s the late-night headband yeah absolutely I love it I’m now listen to I
have been extremely eclectic musical you know I listen to such a variety of music
I you know I’ll go from listening to like I think I was listening some
Hawaiian slack key guitar yesterday on the way to my show and then I was like
ah I need to get my voice right now put on some like Darius Rucker for a couple
then I listen to Papa do see a song I think I listen to some Grant green he’s
everyone agree he’s one of my favorite jazz guitarists you should actually
you’d appreciate him because he at the forefront of that um you know when jazz
was starting to get more into like there was a lot of vamps you know like
chameleon that kind of stuff like he he played a lot of straight-ahead stuff
with a very bluesy and he’s got the e 355 that’s my favorite guitar 55 or the
35 III that whatever the hollow body gets in
yeah actually I bought it in 335 typically it’s a great great guitar it’s
the best dude it’s so versatile because you can go from like beautiful clean
what he sounds like you know you can put some overdrive on it or effects in it it
stands up well in a live show yeah that’s perfect
yeah grant green he’d uh if he listened to his new funk and France album a lot
of cool jams he’s still alive it looks a lot picture he’s gone his son is not if
his son’s name is Grant green jr. his sons out there playing good yes so I
appreciate a huge variety of music and I I know Aaron as wide or wider than my
musical interest range but uh you guys do do a great job with the festival
music but when you talk about bringing in other acts are you talking about
going you mentioned like listening to weird music do you want to bring in
weirder music are you trying to bring in the whole spectrum from like you’re more
you know more of a rock band all the way to you know strange stuff I would say if
if I had my druthers I would have just just for that one kid who’s out in the
audience you know it was it’s his first festival or or whatever I want him or
her to experience the whole gambit of music like you’re gonna hear some stuff
that you don’t like but you’re also going to hear some stuff that you really
like and you didn’t know existed like so I have resonance there’s this band black
moths super rainbow they’re playing at resonance and it’s like it’s kind of
like if Brian Wilson took more LSD and did more so like more stuff besides her
work and then didn’t like doesn’t do didn’t do harm AIDS as much that sounds
could have gone a whole different way and I’m not saying like black moths
sounds like the Beach Boys I don’t know it’s just like 60s psychedelia
but happening now and some of it is accessible and some of it is not but
there should be some music that’s not accessible you know like you should be
not forced to listen to it but it it itch there should be different time
signatures there should be different keys
there should be it’s some stuff that makes you question whether you like the
music or not like it shouldn’t just be four on the floor the whole time it
shouldn’t just be in c-major of the whole time or whatever
absolutely so like and I’m not saying that other festivals or necessarily that
residents will do that saying if I had my way I would have you know like a a
square pusher set where it’s just him it’s not shoba leader one it’s just
square pusher being a weirdo and freaking people out like I like that I
like being backstage I’m looking at people that’s that’s perfect I love I
used to lead backpacking trips when I was in college in near Asheville in kind
of near Brevard which is where my parents live so we would go out in the
in the woods and the teaching philosophy was always that you know everyone’s got
a green zone of things they’re comfortable doing a yellow zone where
they’re uncomfortable but not freaked out and then there’s like their red zone
where they’re just like so uncomfortable that it’s no longer productive and the
idea was that you always wanted to be pushing people into that yellow
like it’s like clipping on a mixer you want to be yeah you definitely don’t you
definitely don’t want to clip unless that’s what you’re going for but yeah
you you wanna like I find I teach a lot you know I have 25 students each week
and I try to I have this like 8 page listening guide and I have the kids
listen to different music every week and you know I’ll figure out what they tend
to like and then I’ll try to push those bounds but like if they’re into the
Allman Brothers I don’t necessarily want to have them listen to like you know
Miles Davis but I might have them listen to some some like later Grant green or
Kenny Burrell something that’s like you know different enough that it expands
their boundaries but doesn’t like just blow their mind in a bad way Brighton’s
well then like the next thing you know a month later they’ve been listening to
this stuff that they used to be think was crazy and now they’re used to it and
then I put the Miles Davis on so I do like when what a good music festival
like I was down at Jazz Fest in New Orleans that’s a whole different story
there yeah but I mean there is like there’s everything and you just you know
you might not be comfortable to something but once you’ve heard a little
bit of it it starts to get in your head and you might be an email even if you
don’t like it you listen to it and you know you’re exposed it just helps to
shape you know who you are as a musician or as a music fan it’s always something
you can learn or take away from from any music any music that’s played well like
if that the musician cares about ya I can appreciate have you started using
the listening guide Aaron do you have your students listen to things um yeah
yeah obviously sure as a teacher that’s part of your job I mean just kind of
exposing students to new stuff you were here what do you have them listen to oh
it does the gambit it doesn’t matter it’s it’s smooth jazz
or metal or if it’s jam band stuff or it’s just classic rock or classical or
EDM it doesn’t matter kind of taking the student and saying okay well try to
listen to it and it’s not just a matter of just listening I’m because um because
I’m an engineer I try to get them to listen to music a little bit differently
and try to pull out different instruments and listen for specific
things and kind of do an ear training exercise sometimes I’ll pull up a Pro
Tools file and I’ll isolate certain tracks and then I’ll pull the whole back
the band back in and just kind of get them to kind of train their ear to focus
in on certain aspects of a mix that’s extremely important that no matter who
you are as a musician that you can kind of train your ear to listen to music and
pull certain things out I mean it’s important to be able to listen to a song
overall and have that overall aspect of how the song sounds overall well that’s
what the mix is I mean yeah that’s that’s that’s a whole different story
that I was going to say I was I I see you’re in the studio like how I know I’m
you’re the one supposed to be interviewing me but I wanted to ask you
are you able to go to a show and just enjoy it for music sake or you uh do you
find yourself critiquing the Knicks um and seeing like I wonder what what uh
plugins he’s using on that oh did you go eight yeah I don’t go that far just
because in the end it doesn’t really matter you know it all comes down to it
doesn’t sound good and it’s everybody’s everybody having a good time yeah I play
both sides I definitely just enjoy listening to the music I mean I love
going to concert or you know festival or whatever
it isn’t just kind of sitting back and just absorbing at all sure but there’s
also that engineer aspect of it maybe a song or a part of a song or whatever
I’ll just kind of start thinking about exactly what a specific person is doing
or how they’re getting their sounds or maybe you know maybe the drummer’s doing
something really cool or maybe the you know guy on keys it’s got some kind of
weird effect and I’m like what the heck is going on
so I’ll wander up to the front of the stage and yeah kind of try to look
exactly what’s going on maybe he’s going through some filters or something like
that I don’t stand next to anyone in the band
that shows anymore because I want to enjoy it and if I’m standing next to
Anthony or something we’ll just be like what he’s using and I should just enjoy
it and shut up since we’re on that which you just said about not standing next to
anybody you guys have I’ve never seen another band that set up quite like you
do in this arc around the stage I think it’s amazing because it it seems to set
up the idea that nobody is more important than anybody else because
nobody’s standing out in front it’s it’s really cool and the fact that you can
kind of look across the arc and see other players how did you guys start
doing that well I think what you just said like you can just everyone can see
everybody that’s very important even if you have a talkback mic it’s important
like eye contact is you know it’s way more important because I could be
playing a wrong note or whatever and somebody doing yeah the evil eye yeah I
don’t know it I think it just came from being wanting to see everyone being able
to see to see drummer is very very important obviously
and also I don’t think any I don’t want to be upfront
oh no I did I back in the in the day I used to be up front and no I don’t know
what i’m not i’m not like a like Eddie Van Halen you know like I don’t know I
just want to I just want to play music I don’t want people to enjoy it and I
don’t have like the crowd work I guess I don’t say anything on the microphone
I’ll sing but like I don’t I don’t want to talk to the crowd I don’t look at the
crowd on our bass player Rob used to be up front in the middle for a long time I
don’t think he wanted to be up there and I totally get it
like like I said I don’t do it either so and it’s hard to it was hard to see him
to you know if he’s I don’t want he has a nice looking but and everything but
like I don’t want to just look at his ass rather looking at me eyes straight
this way so that’s where that came from I think it also is yeah it’s gonna like
if you’re on tour and you have a support act to leave some space because I hate
being the guy that’s like yeah I can’t move anything I’m sorry there’s like can
yeah I I can move a couple things but I there’s just so many wires involved and
so many wires across the stage like we’re all linked up in certain ways that
if one thing were to get unplugged that’s like five minutes at the
beginning of the show that somebody has to come up on stage help us figure out
what’s going on don’t be doing that like we did that a
yeah the one and only time we’ve played Bonnaroo and how we will ever play
binary that happened like I was on stage we were on stage for like 20 minutes
your idol it was terrified so that’s why we don’t
move it and I want to leave room for other musicians that’s you know that’s
part of playing with other people physically if you’re playing with them
on stage or if they’re opening up for you or you’re opening up for them there
should be room for people so the arc helps with that and helps with eye
contact it helps to keep our our setup in fact so with your band I mean when I
listen I do hear lots of like kind of prog rock influences you guys are I was
just listening to uh tateo sand I listened to some of your your first
album the Makri Nuri and some of the newest one and there’s some you know
there’s some definite similarities from album to album like you got you a lot of
times you’ll put that like an old guy from like the like old talking from the
50s like talking about like scientific stuff will be like underneath the music
which is pretty cool but you guys are really good at coming up with these
little catchy melodic lines and and developing those ideas can you talk
about how you know when you’re writing songs what’s the process you guys go
through because it you know a lot of these songs don’t have vocals and how is
that process changed over the years well I can only I mean I can tell you how how
we write a song together which isn’t that that different from
and writes a song together I think I’ve never really been in any other bands but
like let’s say I wrote a song and you and Aaron I would but the bare bones
that live down in Ableton Live and the board their parts but not they don’t
have to be your parts is just a suggestion and we go from there if the
song has lyrics there’s more of a structure I think I know at least for us
I most songs I’ve written are all hard just instrumentals because I I don’t
trust myself with lyrics so you know how that is
even just writing anything but anyway yeah the process is just just just
laying out pre-recorded Ableton session basically and being like here’s what I
think I think your your part could go like this I welcome your input on it
because I I don’t play bass but I wrote a bass line here it is take it and do
what you will I think if I think that it’s it’s not meshing with what I wrote
in mind the way that I wanted the song to feel and you know then I’ll say
something but usually I don’t have to if one of us writes a song that’s like this
how it is and this is how it’s gonna be usually it has lyrics and there’s like
there’s a headspace behind it where I if it’s coming from someone else to me I
will respect that okay let’s do it and then I’ll change it live later on yeah
you know the name yeah not really but we use this program called splice on it D
are you familiar with Ableton Live yeah use Ableton alright are you on splice
I’m not on splice you can check you can share right
you’re yeah piles just the whole set so like I could send you right now a set
and you can see exactly how I’ve made the song and like what edits I’ve done
just through how I’m looking at it on my screen you look at it and then you can
save it as something different but not really make any changes and then suggest
hey I did this figure to leave it so then by the time you get into rehearsal
for that song or that album which we’ve done before it’s not a surprise
obviously talking about it it’s it’s a it’s honestly probably the most powerful
writing tool that you have its just give with share stuff even though we live in
the same town space is space but you can go eat a cheeseburger a song can’t you
cheeseburgers rehearsal I mean the idea that you could you know you get inspired
one night and you could sit there and spend hours figuring out your part and
send it over to the other guys ya know working on the session yourself is seems
like an efficient way to do it it’s free yeah yeah you’re not sitting
in the studio where everybody’s like waiting for you yeah I mean we’ve never
been the first studio time we ever bought was this past album ever those
thing coma what’s our content coming yeah
and just why did you guys decide to go to studio well we I wanted we all wanted
like a real studio drum sound I think it’s like we’ve we’ve built drum rings
in the past but there’s just you know that’s not my job to report over
somebody gets paid to do that that is their specialty and so I wanted we all
kind of wanted to do experience that the first time I think it worked out really
well it sounds great yeah if you listen to the drums on that and then listen I
want my greenery we should talk about McCreary I can’t believe you listen to
that I agree I really liked it we didn’t know what we were doing but if you
listen to even techeuns the drums on Teddy is we’ve built a drum
room for everything we’ve ever recorded is always on TV even pumping and we’ve
just mixed it ourselves send it off for master hey we just had a Chris Graham of
Chris grand mastering was on right episode 50 talking about mastering if if
any of our listeners out there want to learn more about mastering or why they
should master their songs he has some great information
yeah send it off to Chris Graham or Anthony fog Martin then again anything
you know I trust him to master our songs but you can’t master your own songs like
this you have to have somebody else and that’s another reason why we wasn’t
studio is to have someone else
even if you don’t build what they’re suggesting it’s good to just have other
voices conversation.
And that is where we’re gonna leave it for today. Join us
next Thursday as we get into part two with Billy Brouse of the band Papadosio
As usual, if you are enjoying what you’re hearing, hit that subscribe button,
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Lastly, I want to say thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for
listening. That in itself is awesome.
You are awesome. You know, music is extremely special to all of us and it’s
it’s crazy in terms of, we get to listen to all of these
professionals lives. Peer into their decisions and their craft and understand
how passionate they are about what they do. And that’s awesome. It’s so cool to be
able to hear all these people’s musical journeys. That’s awesome. So I I hope you
find this valuable. I know I do and I’m just genuinely happy that
you’re listening. Thank you. So, that’s where we’re gonna end it. Join us next
Thursday for part two with Billy Brouse of the band Papadosio on Fret Buzz
The Podcast.

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