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Josh Logan

June 7, 2007 by  
Filed under Interviews

joshmainThere are a few things you can count on from a Josh Logan show. First and foremost, expect to be impressed by his voice. (Dude has some serious pipes). Then there’s the stellar original material that showcases the longtime Manchester, New Hampshire resident’s trademark blend of soul, funk, and rock. Complementing both is Logan’s unique mixture of cover tunes — his choices range from Sublime to Snoop Dogg to a version of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” that’s so good it gives you chills. And no need to worry if the power in the club goes out, as it did momentarily on the night I saw Logan and his band perform — it didn’t faze him for a second. He continued the show without missing a beat, literally.

Of course, this shouldn’t really come as a surprise; Logan’s had a good deal of practice. He’s been at it since the age of 15, when he began his career as lead singer of the band Gunshy. After a few years together, Logan went solo to further develop his talents as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist. In 2003, he formed his own band, Josh Logan & Nobody’s Business, releasing a self-titled album the following year.

In the summer of 2006, Logan came to the attention of music fans nationwide as a top ten finalist on CBS’ “Rock Star: Supernova,” the show that sought to find a lead singer for a supergroup comprised of Gilby Clarke, Jason Newsted, and Tommy Lee. Building on his success from the show, Logan next toured Canada and Iceland with some of his fellow “Rock Star” finalists.

Currently, Logan and his new band (guitarist Nate Comp, drummer Ryan Barrett, bassist Matt Reignkin) are applying the finishing touches to his upcoming album, “Gone Tomorrow, Here Today,” which is slated for a summer release. I had a chance to sit down with the guys recently to talk about Tommy Lee, why they’re so excited for fans to hear the new album, and how long, annoying airport layovers can be surprisingly inspiring.

Interviewed by: Heather Kobrin | June 2007
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The Shapes

May 11, 2007 by  
Filed under Spotlight Bands

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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.

The GoStation

April 15, 2007 by  
Filed under Spotlight Bands

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How did the band get together?

Our current lineup really has just cemented within the past year, year and a half or so. Our drummer Justin used to play in a band called Surefire, who we’ve been friends with for a long time, and Erik, who’s our rhythm guitar player now, we met him through mutual friends and he just kind of fell into the band, which is really cool. Things have been happening organically over the last year and a half, which has felt good, sort of how it’s supposed to be.

What’s the significance of the band’s name?

That actually came out of a little bit of a misunderstanding. I had been saying that I was thinking of “Ghost Station” as the name, but then I thought it was a little too dark-sounding, and someone misheard me and thought I was saying “GoStation.” Everybody liked that, so we kind of stuck with it. And as it turns out, the transit authority around Toronto is called the Go Transit and their train stops are called Go Stations. We didn’t know that before we named the band, but of course it will probably make things interesting when we finally make it out there.

How would you describe your sound?

Someone, it might have been Matt, said they thought we sounded like “post Brit pop,” and we just sort of liked that label, even though we don’t really know what it means. Really all of our biggest influences are those bands from the mid- to late ‘90s UK rock scene, like Oasis and The Verve and Embrace, and then further back like U2…but we also listen to a lot of contemporary stuff. And being in New York, The Strokes have had a huge impact on us.

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I understand you’ve just finished up your first full-length album. Tell me about it. What’s it called? When is the release date? When will tracks be available online?

It took us over a year to finish it, so it’s a long time coming…It’s going to be called “Passion Before Function”…We‘ve signed a deal with a label in Japan called Fabtone Records…I believe it’s coming out in July in Japan and we’d really like for it to be out here around the same time to sync everything up…The first two songs we have up (on MySpace) are both on the record…We’re getting everything completely remastered, so I’m sure they’ll sound a little bit different, but “All Together Now” and “Not Enough,” which are both up on MySpace, are respectively probably going to be the first and second singles. “C’mon” we re-recorded for the album as well, so there’s a totally new version of that.

What’s the songwriting process like for the band? Is everyone involved?

Yeah, everyone’s involved, but it’s not like a collaborative jam session kind of thing… Historically, Matt or I write songs at home on an acoustic guitar, and then we’ll bring them in and…we’ll just sort of deconstruct stuff from there, let people come up with their own parts…so it becomes very collaborative and people will comment on what other people are doing and make suggestions…It’s definitely not a situation where someone’s saying “here’s the song” and “here’s how it’s gonna go,” because I guess we all feel like if you want to do music that way, you might as well just play solo.

The band recently played the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival (in Austin, Texas.) On his blog, Matt described the first day of music there as “the closest I’ve ever felt to being reborn.” Did you share that sentiment?

I think it’s just really nice to be in an environment where music becomes such an important thing. It’s sort of like stepping out of reality for a week or so. The same thing really happens during CMJ (Music Marathon, in New York City), where you’re just surrounded by bands, you’re going from one place to another, and everything is music-oriented, and you kind of wish, wow, wouldn’t it be great if it was like this all the time?

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What’s your favorite aspect of performing live?

When we record in the studio…we’re like an everything-in-the-kitchen-sink kind of band; it’s like, let’s add piano and organ and strings, and this and that, and we’ll just throw in all these tracks and it makes everything sound really huge. We’re big fans of that, but then when we’re playing live, it’s just the five of us, and we’ve got two guitars and me doing vocals, and it’s a much more raw experience. So I guess I like people getting to see the songs in more of a stripped-down form, which they inevitably are going to be in. It’s also just good to connect with people individually – you can only do that so much online or through a record.

Where can fans buy your music right now?

The EP (the 2005 release “Quiet Zone”) is available in tons of places. You can buy it directly from us through our website (http://www.thegostation.com). On the audio page, there’s a PayPal link. You can get it on Amazon, awarestore.com, cdbaby, and iTunes. I believe it’s also up on the other major download services like Rhapsody and URGE.

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I always like to include at least one “unprofessional” question in my interviews – is that okay with you?

Oh sure.

If you had to take on the Gallagher brothers from Oasis in a fight, which band member would you bring with you?

Definitely Nick…because Nick could fight the rest of us by himself…I don’t think anyone in our band would ever want to have to fight Nick. But at the same time, I have to say if I had to fight the Gallagher brothers, something would have gone seriously wrong with my life. I would be very upset that was happening at all.

Any parting words or messages for your fans?

Well…we’ve spent so much time on this record, it’s almost hard to believe that it’s finished at this point…we’ve just been listening to these mixes ourselves, and have sort of been blown away by what we’ve created. And we really just feel like all it’s going to take for the album to do well and for it to really get out there is for people to hear it. I guess our message would just be for anyone who hears our stuff and appreciates it and likes it… that they spread the word and tell as many other people as they can…There are so many bands out there competing for airwaves and bandwidth…that would be pretty much it, spread the word.

Check out The GoStation online:

http://www.myspace.com/thegostation

http://www.thegostation.com

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