“Being successful is creating, being, doing something that makes someone contemplate or smile or cry or do something they may have not done before or go to a place in their own mind that they may not be used to going… ”
GETTING TO KNOW redLyon
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
Well, I personally started playing music when I found a guitar in the back of my grandmother’s closet when I was around 13 and taught myself how to play it. I played and wrote a little bit, but really didn’t get serious about it until a bit later. I have also always loved using synths and various methods of recording.
redLYON was born with the idea of…
creating something unique that sort of married a lot of the musical and artistic influences that really got us excited. In terms of this band, Dustin Odya and I met when we played in a short-lived band called JBW. I played synth and Dustin was the drummer. From there I started a band called The Synthesis with a fantastic vocalist named Jenny Gibson and Daniel Brown, a long-time friend and artistic collaborator, who joined the band as the guitarist. There were several reasons that led Daniel, Dustin, and I to sit down and really consider our musical and artistic direction as well as where we wanted to go. It may sound simple, but we really wanted to make music we liked and felt passionate about. There was an amicable parting of ways with Jenny, who went on to do some other fantastic projects, an indefinite hiatus for The Synthesis. Tyler Mounsithiraj joined a bit later, which really helped the band take the shape it has now.
“Dance While It Burns” is…
basically a break-up song. It is a song about breaking up and being not just good with it, but happy about it. I wrote the major sort of skeleton of this song and brought it to the band and we all hammered out the details. This is usually the way the majority of our writing process goes. We are really interested in using all sorts of things in the recording process to get a unique sound, such as effects, pedals, mics and basically anything to put a unique spin on a lot of the electronic music we make. We love the idea of merging electronica with an alternative feel by adding dirt to electronic sounds that can be sterile at times. We do add guitar to a lot of our music. Tyler is a brilliant guitar player. But that isn’t the only way we prefer to add the grit we like. We run our synths through effects, effects pedals, amps and anything we can use to alter and manipulate the sounds in a different way. As with many of our songs, “Dance While It Burns” went through many incarnations before it finally turned into what it is. While it has a dark vibe to it, it is still a little bit of a toe tapper (at least to us), which makes it really fun to play live.
Our musical base is…
Chicago. Our individual locations are one of the things that makes our band unique, I believe. Chicago is where we practice and there are several fantastic venues in a town like this as well as a music scene that can really work with the type of music we make. Chicago is known for a thriving Industrial, electronic and alternative scene. There is a lot of unique work coming out of the city. While Chicago is our musical home, not all of us actually live in the city. One of us does, a couple of us live an hour and a half or so away and one member lives a few hours away. The distance can definitely make things interesting. Although, with technology and the type of music we make, we have really been able to thrive with our base in Chicago, even with us being slightly spread out.
Social media is…
an interesting factor in making music or any form of art for that matter. It is amazing that we can make music and get almost direct contact with the people who want to hear it. Never has it been this accessible in the history of creating music. While it is an amazing advantage, it has also its challenges. There is so much media available now, it is sometimes difficult to cut through that wall of noise. There are so many opportunities now that, even a few years back, did not exist in terms of getting in contact with our public and having people hear what we are creating as well as interacting and promoting our work and live shows. The trick is being able to break through that afore mentioned noise. In the end, it is still a great thing and all we can do is make music we are passionate about and try to reach out to as many people as we can who may find something of value in it.
In kind of an odd sidenote, I have noticed many of the venues we play, while we are in the booking process, mention the amount of “likes”, “friends” and “followers” we have. I feel like that may be a dangerous precedent because live performance will always be the backbone of any musical or artistic scene. Without having the freedom to play and build a base, it is difficult to create the “followers” they are looking for online and it can turn into a little bit of tail chasing.
I would love to have 5 minutes alone with…
Martin Gore of Depeche Mode if we are talking about music. However, this is a tough question since there are so many authors, artists, musicians and leaders that I would love to have five minutes with. The band Depeche Mode is probably the greatest musical influence in my writing for redLYON. Martin Gore, the primary songwriter for Depeche Mode, is, in my mind, one of the greatest lyricists and songwriters of this generation. First of all, he seems like a guy I would just like to have a cup of tea with. He has been through so much personally and professionally and I respect the way he has come through all of that. Of course, to have a chance to pick his brain, even just for a few minutes, about song creation, lyric writing, performance, creation of a mood, all of which he manages so expertly, would just be an amazing learning opportunity. The primary inspiration redLYON takes from Depeche Mode is their ability to create a mood with the music they make. Even when a song is not technically difficult, to be able to manipulate sounds to create an emotional landscape is one of those grand artistic devices that Depeche Mode manages so well and that redLYON strives for.
Being current and trendy is…
possible if that is the emphasis from the artist while creating since it always depends of where the emphasis originates. I think in pop culture, there is always going to be a push to be current and trendy and become the “now” thing. I really don’t think it is possible to create anything of substance. If anything, it seems that there is much more cultural savvy than in the past. With social media and the like, there is 24/7 pop culture intake. This being the case, it is nearly impossible to make something, have someone hear it, and not be immediately called out if it is insincere or fake in any way. It is, in my opinion, the responsibility of the artist to create, from wherever they are. As long as the decisions made in that creation have a sincere intent, there will be an audience for those creations. The package the artist chooses to wrap those creations in, whether they be trendy or otherwise, are choices that do and/or should come after the creation is complete.
One of my biggest imposed challenge is…
to write always from an honest place, which means to never write because you are in a certain genre and this is what is expected from that style or because the music of this song sounds this way so the lyrics must say a certain thing. I generally challenge myself to create with the intent of expression and to allow the artistic voice, which often is a collection of many different influences, to create something that is hopefully unique and meaningful in some way to the people who hear and see it. Also, I try to challenge myself to be technically and mentally ready to create when the time arrives to do that.
I am most afraid of…
apathy. I am afraid of failing at something just because I was scared of giving my 100%. If failure comes, if a song doesn’t work or if a show falls flat, I would rather see that happen because we were bad, than because we were afraid to be all in. Trying to stay out of the trap of being so afraid to fail clearly becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Being successful is…
creating, being, doing something that makes someone contemplate or smile or cry or do something they may have not done before or go to a place in their own mind that they may not be used to going. For me, that is what great musicians and bands that inspire me have done. I think when people get to that place, it changes world views and when those change, I suppose the world will change as well. Not grandiose at all, right? My definition of success is changing the world. I suppose everyone has their own worlds and all those worlds are subject to change. I know for certainty that is what music has done for me.
redLYON endeavours to create electronica/rock that draws from the vein of the best of the genre while creating something new and unique. Those who are familiar with and enjoy Depeche Mode, New Order, The Cure, Gorillaz, Nick Cave, Red Flag, Klaxons, Erasure, Joy Division, White Lies, and the like, may find redLYON to be their cup of tea. No way to know unless you take a sip…
redLYON Social Network Links:
Purchase music at: www.redlyonmusic.com
The music video for redLYON’s first video from Instict called “Miss Short Brown Hair” : redLYON – Miss Short Brown Hair (Official Video) HD