Behind The Music with Reijo on Surrender

Behind The Music with Reijo on Surrender

‘Surrender’ is an extension, a hand reaching out, from the sounds and experiences of the last album into the next one. What your audiences will hear in ‘Surrender’ is the pure essence of our sound, both in its familial nature and its modern tone. Audiences are responding enthusiastically already. We hope its the kind of springboard that will set us off in the next direction.

Listen to the live interview at 8:20 pm et
Episode #593: A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax


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

Band Name: Reijo (pronouce it ray-o)=
James vox | guitar
Storm guitar | vox
Patrick Handlovsky drums
Quay Evano bass


Person Interviewing: James Reckseidler

Song name: Surrender
Music Genre:: rock

‘Surrender’ is really about giving up that part of oneself, letting go of moments where we are not our best. Where we wish we could have taken words or actions back, but can’t. Be it in our relationships with a partner, our family, loved one, a child, or whoever it may be, even in our relationship with ourselves.


Surrender can have a negative connotation attached to it, but we wanted to reflect through the lyric that it is not about giving up self for someone else’s benefit or control. Rather, it is an honest acknowledgment that we need to give our relationships the proper space and time to emerge and grow. To be completely free we need to ‘Surrender’ and let go of the control that holds us back.


It is a song that greatly expresses pain, anger and sorrow but at the same time shows that from that sadness, one can attain freedom and release. We think something all can relate to.


Our music is Rock ’N’ Roll. The essence of ‘reijo’ is in the roots of the rock ’n’ roll spirit. We funnel the energy of rock and hope to directly capture the heart and the emotions of those who hear our songs. We want to move the audience and give them a moment to lose themselves in the groove or the lyric. ‘reijo’ always strives to take rock ’n’ roll to a higher plane and elevate the listener’s experience to a higher plane. That may mean focusing the spotlight on issues that are hard to deal within ourselves or cause a listener to reflect on world affairs.


Our songs could have three chords or six chords like many great rock and roll songs, regardless we put all our emotions and our thoughts into the arrangements.

We spend time trying to evaluate what else is out there, to see where music is going. We want to shift with it, but what remains at the heart of our music is the kind of 80’s, 90’s rock we all grew up listening to. The music is is rooted in 80s & 90s Brit-Rock as an influence from bands such as The Stone Roses, Oasis, and U2 but each member contributes their own ideas into the whole of the reijo sound.


And in the end, it’s all about using music to express ourselves in the most straightforward and creative way we possibly can.

‘Surrender’ is an extension, a hand reaching out, from the sounds and experiences of the last album into the next one. What your audiences will hear in ‘Surrender’ is the pure essence of our sound, both in its familial nature and its modern tone. Audiences are responding enthusiastically already. We hope its the kind of springboard that will set us off in the next direction.

Reijo’ evolved out of a collective passion for this sound we’ve created. And with that, there is no plan or particular direction for us to follow per se. We only strive to be the best creatively we can be and hope to create a community of fans who can find our music.

We’re always as as a group thinking about the where we want to go, what challenges can we take on next, and where the group will go musically, and that is a positive to the development of the next album, our third album and beyond.


Creative Process…
Our process varies widely between songs and albums. We’re mostly guided by the moment and the feeling we’re in and how we can best put it into a complete work. Sometimes a lyric or a phrase will trigger an emotion and the words will flow. If the lyrical rhythm is there with some melody, the music will easily follow. Other times, it could be sitting down at the piano and forming a melody and chord structure that fits our energy. A lot of reijo’s songs have come from a distinct sound or a sonic experience.


James (vox/songwriter) and Storm (guitarist/songwriter) grew up around a ton of vinyl records, reel to reel machines, cassette recorders, guitars, amps, and so many things that there was always some musical way to express an idea. Our equipment started simply of course with recording on tape as kids and has evolved now to of course much more higher end music software and working with recording partners. In our case, we’ve had a strong relationship with Steve Dierkens of Studio D (Los Angeles / Calgary) as well as producers Mick McCoy (Vegas) and Lars Deutsch (Los Angeles) who we’re proud to call friends and are helping to shape the music.


But we still take time to work at basic level of building up songs from small ideas. We’re working and re-working ideas constantly. And we, as a band, have a strong ability to sonically create an emotion from a guitar melody and use of effects. We like our Twin Reverb and Vox AC30’s for the sounds, and Telecaster and Gretsch both Hollowbody and ProJet guitars.


Each member adds their influence in partnership with where we sonically want to take this emotional spark.


Patrick, (drums) adds From my standpoint as the drummer, I want to bring these songs to life and rhythmically what I’m hearing that best serves the song. Typically James or Storm will with have part of a song idea or a completed tune and then they will send to me and I take it from there on the drums side.


For Surrender, I really wanted to created a feel between push and pull – in the starting with the pattern I’m playing on the ride cymbal in particular, I’m pushing the song – when it gets to the verse I hold back a bit and set up the course/blueprint of what the rhythm is saying. Most reijo songs are started/developed this way and I really like this system we have – it seems to work quite well in creating music

How do you stay focused and balance creating with life..: As many musicians and artists, or anybody knows it can be difficult to juggle the realities and responsibilities of life with creating and pure creativity. The music has always been within us so we try to stay open to the moments that allow it to breathe and express itself through us.


Life takes hold sometimes and the stresses can cause us to lose a moment but the moments are always there. We have to strive to ensure the balance of our lives don’t become technical so the creative side flourishes. It gets harder each and every day as the burdens of this experience we’re all going through knives deeper into us.


So we try to find quiet moments as best we can. These instruments have the ability to save us and open us up even in brief periods at a time. So, for James and Storm as the songwriters for reijo, the moments with a guitar or at a piano aren’t always fruitful but the more moments the guitar is in our hands, the more potential there is for that groove, that essence of spirit, or that idea to take shape. And even if these moments don’t produce in terms of completeness of a song or whatever, there is always a spark or a small piece of something that sticks and may turn out to be something later. It’s important to remember it or record it or write it down.


It’s not always easy to balance life and creativity, but they really don’t have to be at odds with each other, we as people are always in a process – evolving and changing, naturally. Creativity too is process, a learning process.


So, it’s important, too, to remember to go back to your intention, even when you’ve been distracted. What have you been thinking about? What did you set out to do, where did you mean to go?


As Quay (bassist) notes, We (all) live for and love music so that basically is how we remain focused and balanced. We have so much passion and energy in creating music and playing music that if we live without it, that is when our lives become unbalanced. Music, aside from our respective families, is what keeps us going us individuals and as creative people. Music is our water, our sunlight, our medicine.


What piece of music advice forever changed your way of thinking?:

Answers from 3 members:

“Its best to just let what’s in you come out.” – Bono
I have always been open to these constant shifts of self-growth and coming closer to awareness of self. And the words Bono once spoke opened my heart up to not trying to force or control music but to let what is inside come out. That means learning not to ‘craft’ a song but to let music be an expression of who I am. I am very proud of the songs we have created and I hope everyone gets to hear them and embrace them. These songs have so many ideas and emotions in them that I hope we can cause people to question what they’re told, find their own path, be who they feel they really are and not some crafted version of themselves that they hope others like. There is power in true love. And music let’s you be you. You accept yourself, love yourself, and others will love you for that. That’s what music can do.

When creating, being open to the world surrounding you and the synchronicity and synergy that comes towards your thinking, and taking time to reflect on those experiences and make meaning from them. That is what makes each piece of art, music, etc. a wholly unique experience. And take risks.

My greatest music influence are The Beatles. Simply put, I follow the way they approached their songs, the way they performed onstage, the way they took their music to a different level and everything else that made them the best rock and roll band there is.

My first year school band teacher at the time, Mr. Lambert gave me the best musical advice ever. I will paraphrase but it went something like this: ‘as the drummer you have a tremendous influence on the feel and the mood of a song. Always play and support the song first before adding fills or more complex parts. Always support the band first. This gives the band confidence on where the pulse is set and you are driving that – you are the conductor of the band essentially’.

I live in…

We’re based, primarily, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. So we’re a Canadian band, in manner of place and it is our home. It’s where we are based, but we’ve all lived in various locations and been influenced by the scenes of each place. Europe, Asia, North America. We are truly a world-influenced band. The energy of these places are reflected in the energy and pace of our songs.

There’s a good scene here in Calgary and a great amount and diversity of talent in the city, just wanting to burst and show itself to the world. It hasn’t been noticed yet, but everyone keeps playing and doing their thing. We hope we can help people take notice.


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