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Cove Reber of Saosin

May 25, 2007 by  
Filed under Interviews

saomainFrom the very beginning Saosin had their share of setbacks with the release of their debut self-titled album on Capitol Records, leaving fans foaming at the mouth in anticipation for it. With that kind of pressure, you better hope that you’re going to deliver the goods, and deliver they did. Fans and critics alike were not able to find much not to like about the album from beginning to end.

The main thing that jumps out from song to song is the level of musicianship involved. This is not just a band, this is a band of stand-out musicians who are great at what they do individually, so when they get together the synergy is unparalleled. The amazing dual guitar work of Beau Burchell and Justin Shekoski frame each song with the help of rhythm section of Alex Rodriguez on drums and Chris Sorenson on bass. Frontman Cove Reber has been hard-pressed to prove himself to a tough audience and he welcomes the challenge rocking the stage night after night. With his powerful harmonies and his ability to send songs directly from his lips to your gut, this band is a complete force.

This is not a band destined to talk about the past though, this is a band hungry to pave their future. Hot off the news that they would be joining Projekt Revolution, the biggest rock tour of the summer, lead singer and co-songwriter Cove Reber took some time out of Saosin’s busy touring schedule to catch up with us on his day off in the UK…

Interviewed by: Mary Ouellette | May 2007
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Rookie of the Year

May 25, 2007 by  
Filed under Spotlight Bands

rotymain

You just played at Bamboozle 2007 in NJ…how’d that go for you guys? The pictures I’ve seen were amazing–you had a great crowd!

The only word I can use to describe this festival is “grateful.” It was a pure blessing what happened both days.

Rookie of the Year was originally a solo project… When you decided to transition to the current group lineup, what growth between albums did that contribute to?

Better writing…even though there are six old songs on “The Goodnight Moon” that I wrote by myself.

Describe your writing process. Do you do the majority of the writing now or is it pretty balanced between the group?

Well for the first record I wrote half of the record on my own, and then Mike and I wrote the rest. With the new songs we’re writing it seems like it’s me and Mike and the rest of the guys put in their two cents.

How did you come to be signed to One Eleven Records? Did they find you or vice-versa, and how much has being signed to a label affected things

Well Jeff from This Day And Age told me one day Brad liked my demos, so I kinda just went with it. I was a poor kid that wanted a label and Brad and One Eleven just happen to be the ones to give me hope.

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Speaking of One Eleven, you recently toured with your labelmate Brendon Thomas (Foreverinmotion) and the indie band Making April; how was that experience? You all seemed to hit it off pretty well.

Brendon was a solid, perfect human. The kid is gold… Thats all I have to say. Pure gold.

Who has been your favorite act to share a stage with so far? Who would you love to tour with that you haven’t yet?

My fave act would probably be Mute Math. We toured with them last year and they’re pretty much perfect, and they’re solid people.

Rookie Of The Year was part of the SmartPunk.com contest to play at this year’s Warped Tour. You were doing pretty well towards the end of voting; do you know if you won yet/when will you find out?

They annouce it on Saturday and I’m super nervous!

(Ryan can relax, Rookie Of The Year killed at the ballot box only being beat out by three other bands:  – Warped Tour, here they come!)

Who are you most excited to see on Warped if you go?

Anberlin are old friends of mine, so I’m pumped for that, and also our good friends Cute Is What We Aim For! So happy for those guys!

Share with us some of your biggest musical influences…

Wheat is the best band ever! “Don’t I Hold You” – Wheat. Change your life.

Do other people’s expectations of your music affect the way you create it?

Well, when you’re writing you want it to be friendly to every soul out there so its very hard to keep up on that. With the new songs we’re writing we’re thinking about the live show while writing it. We’ll see how it comes out… I’m really nervous!!!

“The Goodnight Moon” has been out for just over a year now. Is there a new album in the works already, and how much pressure do you feel to create something as good or better than TGM?

We’re demoing like crazy… Just get ready for the new stuff–it’s catchier than crackerjacks!

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A lot of your lyrics deal with personal heartbreak…how does it make you feel when someone comes up to you after a show and shares their own story and how your music has affected them?

It makes me feel good that I’m not alone… I had an ex-girlfriend for four years tell me I wouldn’t make it in anything… Then I had a love tell me I would make it and fly with it… Just shows the differnece in love.

How important is it to you to make that personal connection with people?

Personal effect is amazing. I would love to do that with everybody, but it’s hard to do that…having a shy problem like me…

The band runs/updates it’s own website and MySpace page…a lot of artists are beginning to shy away from that again these days. What are your thoughts on that?

I think it keeps our friends and fans at a personal level. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

A deep-thought question before we move onto the fun stuff: What do you feel the future of music is? Will it be an enforcement of cultural and ethnic traditions or a continual mixing and rearranging of styles, blurring all lines?

All I can say is wait for the new Just Surrender record…it’s insanely amazing!

You recently shot a video for the song “Liars and Battlelines.” What can you tell us about that whole experience? (And how did the guys from Carawae wind up in it?)

Carawae is a solid band and we’re super-good friends with the cuties… We did some shows with them in Michigan and asked them to be a part of it with us. Check out the new video! It’s about a relationship going bad during a party, and getting jealous.

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Any plans or concepts for other videos yet, or is it still too soon to be looking into the future?

“The Blue Roses” and “Pop Destroyed The Scene” will come soon…maybe.

If you had 30 seconds to convince someone to buy your album or come to a show, what would you say?

If you want to hear about my life…buy this record!

Time to praise or pick on people! Describe each of your bandmates in three words or less…

Mike – honest and a good solid kid
Pat – my long lost brother
David – Whitney
Brandon – The kid has a heart and a mouth for talking
TJ- (old drummer) miss you brother

Fill in the blanks:
“I’ll never forget the first time I _____.”

Fell in love. 2002 in FL.

“I’ll never forget the first time (choose one of your bandmates) _____.”

Mike tried to hook up with a girl.

What is one item you absolutely could not go on tour without?

My Mac computer!!!

Opposite side of the same coin: What one item inevitably gets left behind in the hotel/venue/wherever you happen to be?

Sidekick charger!!! So much!! It’s insane.

Famous last words. (Anything goes!)

Summer Ata I love you and thank you for having faith in my music.

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Check out the band here:
http://www.rookieoftheyear.net
http://www.myspace.com/rookieoftheyear

Val Emmich

May 20, 2007 by  
Filed under Interviews

valmainVal Emmich has been through ups and downs in his career but the downs are what drives his songwriting and makes him an all around better musician.  He knows that not everyone is going to love what he’s all about but he at least hopes you listen long enough to make a decision based on the music.  He’d rather win over a room full of new ears than play to a bunch of suits who just don’t get it.  It’s with this creative force and truly grassroots effort that he has amassed a loyal following of fans who support his every move.

With that in mind he set out to release his last full-length cd on his own opting out of a deal with a record label.  The result?  A masterpiece titled Sunlight Searchparty that was essentially recorded live to tape capturing the real essence of the album.

May 1st marked the release of an album of B-Sides titled Songs, Volume 1 – Woodstock.  Val and his band are currently touring the East Coast in support of this.  Check them out if you get a chance!! Read more

Lights Resolve

May 18, 2007 by  
Filed under Spotlight Bands

lrmain

Where did the band name come from?

We spent a long time thinking of band names that would not only suit the type of music that we had been writing, but also vibed with the three of us as members of a group. As soon as “Lights Resolve” came up we knew we had something special that had a ring to it and also, in some strange way, described us as individuals and our collective mentality as a band.

How did the band form?

Playing together for eight years in our prior band and also having an additional side project on top of that band, it is safe to say that Neal and I know eachother inside and out. We met freshman year of high school and have been playing music ever since. Sherman joined our old group about four years ago when our old bass player had left the band. I knew him through his old band who we often shared a stage with locally. Ironically I suggested him to a bunch of my other friends’ bands…he eventually ended up in mine!

How long has the band been together?

Lights Resolve formed in March of 2006.

Any influences?

Absolute influences for this band and for every band for that matter. No one has an original idea! Here are some of the direct ones: the recognition of innocence in U2’s “Boy,” the arrogance and wit of The Who’s “Who’s Next,” the calculated yet organic gem that is Radiohead’s “OK Computer,” Joy Division’s brooding soundscape, Rachmaninoff’s extreme emotions, Jimmy Gnecco’s insane vocals and moody sonic landscapes, Phantom Planet’s feel-good musical jams, Bob Marley & The Wailers soul and groove, the catchiness of The Police’s “Synchronicity,” the heavy moving quality of Muse, etc.

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You recently released an EP titled “Prelude”. How does it feel to finally have your music out there?

It took us a while to start the recording process because we wanted to try out all of the songs live before we hit a “record” button. The name we chose, “Prelude,” is very fitting because we already have new material that we are dying to record. We saw this first recording as the birth of something special that would be a precursor to the storm yet to come.

Where can people buy this EP?

It is now available on iTunes (US and International), Merchdirect.com, Napster, eMusic, Rhapsody, Sony Connect, and Musicnet. The best place to buy it is at a show when we come through your town.

Who writes the lyrics for the band, and what is the writing process like?

The creative process is very collaborative. Nobody is interested in taking a back seat in this band. I would say our best material comes out of improvizations where we all vibe with each other in our rehearsal space. Sometimes we each bring in different song ideas that everybody toys with till we get it right. Lyrically, on this record, I wrote about finding your own place in the world we live in, being analytical about yourself and the universe around you, and flirting with God on the other side of the universe.

What sets Lights Resolve apart from other bands out there?

Our ability to be comfortable in our own skin and our need to put on a show for people. Nobody will leave a Lights Resolve show and not have a reaction. When Kurt Cobain said “Here we are now, entertain us” we were listening with open ears. Most bands these days turn their back on the audience and try to be super cool and deep. We avoid “hipness” at all costs because there is a paradox of hip. I have no interest in being in a novelty band. We’re in this for the long haul, for better or worse.

Who would be your dream band to play with?

I don’t know what the rest of the guys would say but my obvious answer would be U2. Honestly the most exciting show I’ve ever seen in my life. They just have the intangible “thing” that lifts you off the ground and takes you to new heights. I would die happy if I shared a stage with them. Boy, I wish I could pick their brains.

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Anything funny that’s happened to you while playing a show?

At our last NYC show the opening band, Jay Breaker House, started covering “The Angel Sings” before we went on…and of course we all turned red.  Our fans completely dug it though.

What is your ultimate goal as a band?

Besides world domination? Just kidding…I think we need to create goals in logical steps. Our first goal is to have a killer live show that goes beyond just playing music that will kick the audience’s ass. We’ve recently experimented with some mixed media elements and they came off particularly well. We’re always learning and looking to do the best that we can. In addition to our show, or should I say in conjunction with our show, will be new music that completely suits a live performance. Not many people realize, but back before Edison invented the phonograph, we did not have recorded sound. Every time people heard music it was being played live…so the visual aspect was just as, if not more, important than the aural aspect. Actually, better said, there was no difference…the music and the visual were one entity. We’re looking to bring that fundamental idea back to the world of music and entertainment.

Describe your music in one word.

If I answered this seriously, I would have to put “egotistical” because you can’t describe your own music without coming across as a dick.

Thoughts on the current music industry?

“The best and the worst of times.” Some of the new music coming out is actually half decent while other stuff is just recycled garbage from yesterday. If you’re going to steal, do it with class from artists that put out records twenty years ago. That’s my lame philosophy anyway. I see potential in the “trench” online marketing of artists triumphing while I see little potential in the current major record conglomerate staying alive. This industry is unpredictable though, so it’s a crap shoot. Neal is the gambling man in this band so ask him.

What’s next for Lights Resolve?

Staying alive and promoting our latest effort, Prelude, on the road for the next year. With any luck we will be back in the studio as soon as we can afford to do that. We can’t wait for everybody to hear the new music and to see the live show. So haul yourself out there!

Any last words?

I’ve already chatted your ear off, but please take the time to check out our band. We are very good with writing e-mails back so hit us up on MySpace or e-mail: contact@lightsresolve.com . We would love to meet you at a show and would love to get your feedback on what we are doing. Much love to all of you!

Check them out!

http://www.myspace.com/lightsresolve

http://www.lightsresolve.com

The Shapes

May 11, 2007 by  
Filed under Spotlight Bands

theshapesheader

The band describes its sound as “Barry White meets Iron Maiden.” Can you elaborate on that?

Mark: That’s partially a joke…those are obviously two completely opposite ends of the musical spectrum. The point is to say that we really run the gamut. And you can call it what you want, but it’s still just rock n’ roll.

You and Tonia share the responsibility for the band’s vocals. Do you feel the guy/girl dynamic works to your advantage by helping to set you apart from other bands?

Mark: Yes. The long and short of it is, we really counterbalance each other stylistically. Tonia provides the smoother, more melodic approach, where I come in more with an aggressive, over-the-top approach. And where we meet, it comes across as this intense blend of vocals.
Tonia: Definitely. I think that we just have a fuller sound. We harmonize sometimes and we sing in unison sometimes, and that really adds a lot, because we don’t just do one thing. I feel like it’s a good advantage for us.

What are the challenges inherent in sharing lead vocals with another person?

Mark: It’s a blessing and a curse. There are times when it’s difficult to get the exact sound we want…whereas if you have one lead vocalist, they kind of do their own thing, they have the melody, that’s it. With us, we have to plan out everything — every little part has to be down to the note.
Tonia: It’s a lot of funny stuff, actually, like we pronounce words differently, or sometimes I’ll throw in an “and” and he won’t, so we have to spend a lot of time on really stupid parts, like making sure that we sing exactly the same words at the exact same time.

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Tell me how The Shapes initially got together.

Mark: Tonia and I have been working together since October/November of 2003. We originally formed a group comprised of various musicians that played with us during that period. We were called The Daisy Chains. Once Brent and Dmitry came along, we changed the name over to The Shapes.

Is there a story behind the naming of the band?

Mark: In 2004, we sat down to decide on a new band name, since we had outgrown the old. I wrote a bunch of names on this dry erase board, and my handwriting is really bad — it’s like, God-awful. At the time, Brent, our guitar player, was not in the room. When he walked back in, he looked at the board and said, “Wow, that name, ‘The Shapes,’ that’s an excellent name, I really like that!” And everyone turned to each other simultaneously and said, “‘The Shapes?’ That says ‘The Shades,’ what are you talking about?” And then, we all realized, wait a minute, that name sounds great! So basically, my bad handwriting mixed with Brent’s imagination came up with The Shapes.

So, I know you just started work on recording your first full-length album. Are there any lessons that you learned during the sessions for your debut CD that have impacted the way you work in the studio now?

Mark: There was a very broad range of styles on that first EP. Songs like “Monochrome,” which is a moody, almost epic rock song, which was the first song Tonia had written for the band. Then you had “Birthday Song” and “Overflow,” which I had written, that were much more pop, almost dancey. Because these two styles were so different, we felt that going into the new record we really needed to co-write a lot more, and collaborate more on the sound, so that we could really bring the two styles together. I think a great example you’ll hear on the new album is a song called “Escape From New York.” To me, that was the epitome of us combining our two styles very well into one song. Really high hopes for that one.

Is the entire band involved in the songwriting process?

Mark: Tonia and I write the songs on our own before bringing them in; they’re not written together in the studio. The majority starts off with one or the other, we come together and work on it, and then it comes to the band. Dmitry certainly writes his bass parts on many of the songs, as does Grant on the drums, Brent on the guitar…but what you hear as the entire entity of a song with the words and melody, the vast majority is written by me and Tonia before the process starts with the band. I spend many months on a song before it’s even heard by anyone else.

The tracks that are currently up on MySpace (“Monster,” “Dry On Ice,” “Claim Your Prize,” “Dreaming Of An M16”) will all be included on the new album, right?

Mark: Yes, re-recorded.

You’ve got a bit of a connection with reality television. You wrote and composed the theme song for the A&E show “Dallas SWAT,” and two Shapes tracks, “Bordeaux” and “Monochrome” were featured on MTV’s “Made.” Which, I have to admit, I watch. So, I have to ask, are there any reality tv shows that you’re secretly fans of?

Mark: Of course — I’m actually a big fan of “Project Runway,” Being a musician, a creative person myself, I see how these people are really putting themselves out there to be judged. To me, it’s a great avenue to see new talent and how the creative process works. And people see these deadlines and how stressful it is to make things work. When you’re in a band, it’s a very similar concept; while it’s music rather than clothes, it’s kind of that same process with us too. That’s why I like watching. I like to see how other people go through that process.
Tonia: I really like “Project Runway” too. I kind of secretly like “America’s Next Top Model” as well. It’s so dramatic.

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Being a New York City-based band, what do you feel it takes to survive in such a competitive market?

Mark: I think you need to have a balls-to-the-wall attitude at all times. Every show needs to be an event. Every person you meet is a possible connection. The band — we’re a very outgoing bunch — we’re not just in our own world. We go to tons of shows and we try to support our friends’ bands. I think that’s the best thing to do, to just be supportive of the whole scene, because while it’s competitive, the support is the main thing.
Tonia: We just really have fun with it. We love playing together. We’re all friends, we hang out, and we have a great time.

If you could tour with any artist, who would you pick, and why?

Mark: My number one favorite artist of all time is David Bowie. I would’ve liked to have been on any one of his tours. Of current bands, I’m really digging Of Montreal right now.
Tonia: Either Radiohead or Sonic Youth. In terms of of-the-moment bands, I would say Bloc Party. They’re also dancey and fun and really get the crowd involved in their show. I think we do the same, so we would fit really well with them.

What’s the 2007 plan for the band, overall?

Mark: Finish the album, then we’ll be working on different label options. Certainly touring in support of the record is going to be in the works, hopefully the West Coast, as well as the UK/Europe. So we’re looking toward Fall for that. The main thing now is to make the best record we can, and I think that it will really guide where we’re going to go next.

Any parting words or messages for your fans?

Mark: Keep supporting musicians, and don’t just buy singles. Keep buying full records, because it’s really important to support artists that way. I think it’s great to hear a song on the radio and say, “Hey I like that song, I‘m gonna grab that on iTunes.” People should do that. But invest a little more time in the artist and check out their full record. Although the medium of albums is kind of on the way out, it’s still really important to hear the artist’s full vision.

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Check out The Shapes online:

http://www.myspace.com/theshapesband
http://www.theshapesband.com

“The Shapes” EP is available for purchase at:

http://www.Ampcamp.com, http://www.CDbaby.com, and iTunes.

Chris Cron & Ryan Malloy of Mêlée

May 10, 2007 by  
Filed under Interviews

meleemain…This was supposed to by my hit song but then I wasted all on you….

Often times I find myself wondering what music is missing these days. It’s not that there isn’t great music coming out, it’s just that none of it seems to take many chances, break any rules, push any boundaries. Everyone follows a formula and dares not stray from the beaten path. One listen to Mêlée’s major record label debut Angels & Devils on Warner Bros. and I had to look to the sky and thank the music Gods above…finally, a band that’s willing to put it all out there!  Surfing through the still waters in the sea of musical mediocrity they managed to create their own tidal wave.

Mêlée (Chris Cron on vocals and keys, Ricky Sans on guitar, Ryan Malloy on bass, and Mike Nader on Drums) have blended soulful, pop rock melodies with infectious choruses that you probably won’t be able to get out of your head without a prescription. The songs run the gamut from flat out rockin’ love songs like Built To Last and Drive Away to the 80s retro pop dance grooves in Frequently Baby (She’s a Teenage Maniac) to the all out arena ready power ballad Can’t Hold On.

Not to be outdone by the music, the lyrics vie for your attention as well.  While the tempo of the song may ring of sugar pop goodness, make sure you listen to the lyrics that are cleverly written and will leave a random smirk on your face at the most inopportune of times. Covering everything from death to crazy ex-girlfriends, Mêlée gives you a glance into the life of a twenty-something year old in the world today – love, hate, rejection, devastation, death and taxes. The songs are a virtual living biography into their lives.

Their solid song-writing, musicianship and passion to leave it all out there on the stage night after night is inspiring for any music fan. I can’t wait until they hit arenas so I can raise my lighter and toast the band with the perfect concoction of tonic and spite…wait, strike that, make it a glass of satisfaction.

Mêlée is currently out on tour with Amber Pacific and Monty Are I.  We sat down with lead signer/piano man Chris and bassist Ryan after their amazing performance in Boston to talk about all things Mêlée.

Interviewed by: Mary Ouellette & Sally Feller | May 2007
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Matt Odmark of Jars Of Clay

May 9, 2007 by  
Filed under Interviews

jocmainJars Of Clay have been at this music thing a long time, but it hasn’t changed who they are or their focus on delivering solid, well written songs that keep their fans coming back for album after album.  With a hearty collection of accolades on their mantle from Grammys to most recently a handful of DOVE awards, the band has never veered off from the human element of it all whether it be reaching out to their fans for their feedback and ideas or starting humanitarian efforts such as their non-profit organization Blood Water Mission that seeks to bring resources to much needed areas and bridge the gap between continental boundaries.

While it may be May and sunny outside the band is currently working on recording a Christmas album and touring the country and beyond.  During their recent stop in Boston, Matt Odmark sat down to fill us in on all things Jars Of Clay…
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Making April

May 1, 2007 by  
Filed under Spotlight Bands

mamainDon’t let the mountain of pillows in the back of Making April’s van fool you. The four 20-something musicians from New York are not likely to be caught laying down on the job. Their unrelenting dedication to their art and a self-imposed goal is, in fact, what spawned the band’s name. Bassist Greg Federspiel explains, “It was March of 2005. After recording our first demos in the studio, we were anxious to put them on Pure Volume and MySpace, yet we didn’t have a name. So we sat there thinking that, ‘we need to have a name by April.’ And so that became the theme of things. Once April 1st came, we still didn’t have anything, and it just hit us. We were trying to ‘make April.’”

This last-minute formula has proven successful for the band, who’s keyboard-playing lead singer, Sean Scanlon, will sometimes write the lyrics for a song as they’re in the studio recording the track. In the past two years–without the aid of a label–the band has released an EP (Runaway World, 2006) here in the U.S., a full-length CD in Japan, had a song featured on season 3 of the hit MTV show Laguna Beach, acquired nearly 80,000 MySpace.com friends, and hauled their bright red trailer of gear all over the east coast. April 21st debuted them at Indianapolis’ historic Emerson Theatre, supporting One Eleven Records’ artists Rookie of the Year, with Foreverinmotion in tow. Locals Translator, Traitor and Dead Of Winter were tacked on to open the show.

Making April played fourth and picked up right where Foreverinmotion’s set left off; alternative Indie rock with a solid foundation. Their lyrics are honest and hearfelt, introspective and moving; evident clearly in the tears of a young girl in the front row as they played their first single, Roses and Butterflies. Keyboardist/singer Sean Scanlon’s voice was a clear, pure instrument of perfection that never faultered or cracked the entire set. Backing vocals and lead guitar, supplied by Steve McCaffrey, brought both harmony and direction while bassist Greg Federspiel and “hip-hop style” drummer Tom Robertine provided an immutable backbone.

“Tom listens to more of like…an underground rap scene,” says Greg. “You can kind of see that in his drumming. The rest of us…it started off with punk music back in the day, like NoFX, Madwagon, and then it kinda morphed into modern-day stuff we all listen to. Like, we’ve seen Dashboard Confessional at Radio City Music Hall…definitely changed everything in terms of having that full-stringed orchestra behind him, and that’s really just where we wanna lead things. Kind of a Coldplay/Dashboard mixture.”

Lacking the budget to hire a studio and touring orchestra, Making April leaped into the digital age thanks to the Apple program Garage Band, and were able to compose and track their own arrangements for their EP, album, and live show. Wired to an amp is the band’s trusty laptop, allowing songs like Runaway World, All Of Yours, and These Are The Nights to come as full to life onstage as they do on the CDs.

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Debie and Making April

“Everything on the album that you’ve heard, and Hurry Up And Wait [from the Japanese full-length], is all synth strings,” Greg explains. “It’s something that (most people) probably have not experienced before live. Even though the orchestra is not actually there, you’ll hear it, and it’s something that, really, most people don’t do yet.”

Maybe because they can’t do it as well as Making April? Their live show rivals their recordings full-force. It’s a unique interpretation of the album; a seamless blend of digital and physical presence that has garnered new fans in every city they’ve toured. Summer 2007 will find these guys holed up in the studio working on a new album, but keep an eye out for a tour later in the year. You won’t want to miss it! Be sure you stick around for a while after the stage is cleared, too…Sean and Steve have a pretty cool habit of treating their fans to some breathtaking acoustic sets outdoors once things begin to die down.

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Making April on MySpace