“It’s all about chasing your dreams and not letting anyone tell you that you can’t accomplish your goals. It’s all about having a passion and not caring that people are going to tell you that you can’t have that passion, or your dream is stupid, or do the safe option in life.” @gallery_81
Live interview September 22 at 6:20pm et
Episode #364 : A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax : http://www.blogtalkradio.com/avaliveradio/2016/09/22/episode-364-ava-live-radio-behind-the-music-with-jacqueline-jax
GETTING TO KNOW GALLERY-81
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
Jon – Drums in Gallery-81
Gallery-81 is Alternative and pop-rock
Carmen: Well that is a long story. I started in 5th grade playing a saxophone.
I really wanted to play trumpet but there was a super cute girl I had a crush on that was playing sax so I went and sat next to her. I spent the next years from 5th grade to Sophomore year of High School playing sax and hating guitar because it was too complicated. Then I went to youth group at the local church because, surprise surprise, a cute girl invited me. One of the pastors asked me if I played guitar or bass and I said no, but only because it was too complicated. I have always wanted to learn. He asked if he could teach me and I accepted the invite. I learned bass and from there went to guitar and the rest is history
Vinny: My first musical experience was piano lessons at the age of three years old.
My teacher quickly told my parents I wasn’t ready to focus long enough for a half hour lesson. And frankly, my attention span hasn’t gotten much better since!
Jon: Growing up I always had a passion for music and I watched my older sister play piano,
so I had to get an instrument. After watching That Thing You Do! (still one of my favorite movies of all time) I decided on getting a drum set for Christmas and I haven’t looked back since!
Carmen: “Freight Trains” is a very simple song with a message
that is not talked about enough in the music industry. It’s all about chasing your dreams and not letting anyone tell you that you can’t accomplish your goals. It’s all about having a passion and not caring that people are going to tell you that you can’t have that passion, or your dream is stupid, or do the safe option in life.
Vinny: “Freight Trains” was born in the mind of our lead singer and frontman,
Carmen Gabriel. The most prominent line in the song is “If you got a dream go and chase it,” and I think that’s exactly what Carmen is actively doing now in his musical career– so the lyrics hit very close to home for him on a personal level, as well as the rest of us in the band. I think Carmen, in writing the lyrics, sought to inspire people to keep pushing towards their aspirations no matter what doubters say.
Jon: Our current single is called “Freight Trains”
and its a song Carmen and I wrote last year. It’s about following your dreams even when everyone and everything seems to be against you.
Carmen: One night after practice, Jon and I were hanging out
and I was showing him this intro riff I had been messing with. It was simple but fast. He liked it and told me to keep going with it. The verse was a big drop off of this explosive energy and I was trying to build it back up with something that worked. Jon said he was going to go half time and it worked. Then we get to where the chorus was going to be and he started playing this weird chorus. It was like pop-punk mixed with disco! I loved it! So we kept it and the lyrics came from another song I was working on and the rest was history.
Vinny: Carmen came to the band with a chord progression and lyrics,
and we each contributed a bit of our own musical flare in building the single as a whole. Jon had a really cool idea on the snare drum, I tried to have an innovative bass line and Larry, our former guitarist, sought to shape a lot of the sound with his lead guitar and effects.
Jon: Carmen and I wrote it at his church after an extremely late night practice.
He played a rift he had stuck in his head and I immediately played a beat and the rest is history.
Carmen: We have two releases in the pipeline right now.
We have the next single set to release in October called “Punk Rock Art Show”, or PRAS as we like to call it, and it works hand in hand with “Freight Trains”. “Freight Trains” is all about chasing your dreams and PRAS is all about not needing to fit a visual stereo type to have that dream. Visual stereotypes are such a big thing for us because no one should be pre judged by how they look and have that be the dictation for their future. Our second big release is an EP release that will be titled “Freight Trains” and it will be release late 2016 or early 2017. It’s gonna be GREAT!
Vinny: This is a song you just can’t help but rock your head down to,
and the lyrics really stick. I’ve found myself mumbling the lyrics to myself way too many times.
Jon: Collectively, I think we want to prove to our peers how good we actually are.
Freight Trains has done alot of us already and we strongly believe this is just the start of Gallery-81 even though we’ve all played together for over a year now.
Carmen: Well I live in Chicago but the group is kind of creating this bubble
in the Chicago Area in general. From the down town area to the suburbs. The music scene is tough because you have to be great at networking. Now that is not a problem for us as a group, we are all pretty outgoing guys. For some people that is hard though. I have met a lot of killer musicians that just aren’t good with people or don’t have the confidence to communicate real well. I try to bring them out of their shells when I am mingling but it doesn’t always work.
Vinny: I was born in raised in Morton Grove, IL. Music is supported in schools,
and while there are no huge venues to perform, I grew a lot musically through playing at church and private lessons in the community.
Jon: Carmen and I are both from a town called Downers Grove,
not a lott happens there and it’s pretty basic even for a suburb! Downers Grove is pretty close to Chicago and that’s where a lot of our shows are located, which we love. Playing live music in Chicago is a dream of mine personally because of its rich music history. The scene here is pretty good when it comes to music, but you better put up or shut up because crowds here know when you don’t deserve to be on stage!
Carmen: I hate it… and I love it.
I hate it because I truly do not enjoy the behind the scenes stuff. I hate having to spend time putting names from a paper on to our email list, or updating the website, or doing social media campaigns. That is all the stuff I hate. I have to love it, though. If I don’t do all that other stuff, then I can’t share the music. I can’t share the message. None of us can. If we don’t do the behind the scenes part of the music business, then none of us can accomplish our goals. It is a love-hate relationship with the business.
Vinny: Frustrated. I’m very grateful for the musicians,
but as I’ve learned more and more about the industry I’ve become a bit disheartened at times. It really is true that some venues and bookers try to take advantage of young musicians– but some venues really are on our side, which is a great feeling! It’s frustrating that a lot of music has become about profit exclusively, which I think is very counterintuitive to the art.
Jon: The music business can be very challenging,
but we are accepting the challenge! So far the business has been very fair to us and Carmen has done a great job handling a lot of the business aspects of being a band.
Carmen: The pros are the people.
I have met so many incredible people whether it is fans or peers. Heck, if I wasn’t a musician I would never have met the guys in Gallery-81. The cons definitely is the other side of that. You sometimes see the worst in people. I have seen far too many selfish, arrogant, self-centered musicians in this business. I hope to never be like that.
Vinny: The most difficult part of being a full-time professional musician,
as well as a student, is balance. There are so many things to do in a day– I wish I could practice all the time and hone my craft for Gallery-81 and other projects, but sadly life gets in the way a lot of the time. Taking advantage of time I do have to play and practice, focusing as hard as I can, is vital.
Carmen: I think they both do different things.
You need to use the singles to sustain interest and momentum to get you to the album release. We have a lot of college-aged fans because they want to hear that they can take on the world and chase their dreams! So with that, we do single releases that are 21+, but then we make sure to find a venue that can handle 18+ guests so that no one is left out. We try to market our shows as a very inclusive event.
Vinny: I think that from a marketing standpoint it’s good for a new band
like us to get their feet wet by first releasing a single– gauging the fans’ reactions, learning about promotion with radio stations, etc. are all important steps to take. In the long run, though, it will be unbelievably cool to have a physical album we can hold in our hands and distribute to our fans, and the greatest feeling has been seeing fans at shows singing Carmen’s lyrics because they’ve heard the single.
Jon: Singles are good because I think that’s how you gauge the fan’s,
the radio stations’, and the crowd’s interest in your product. We do no have an album at the moment but we are working on it, so we use our singles to see how our fans respond.
Carmen: I like that I can be anywhere that I want and create a post.
I can be sitting at practice or sitting on the toilet and no one would ever know! Now you will think about that every time you see a Gallery-81 post! The problem with social media is that the companies are focusing a lot on the money now. That is sad for musicians that use these free features to grow their brand then all of a sudden they need to pay to sustain their growth. It is sad to see these platforms become so monetized.
Vinny: Social media is the reason I’m in this band to begin–
the band connected that way after Carmen and Jon, who have been playing together for awhile, were in search of a lead guitarist and bassist. From the standpoint of getting shows, we’ve connected with a lot of venues and people that book shows on Facebook, we have a strong Instagram presence, and I’d say a big part of the success of “Freight Trains” has been sharing the link to the song with our friends and fans on Facebook.
Jon: Social media is a great tool for musicians everywhere to use to develop relationships with fans.
With social media we can release music here in IL and someone from Australia can hear it the same day! It’s crazy how many opportunities social media can open up for bands these days.
Carmen: Jaco Pastorius’s ghost.
Just 5 minutes of him showing me everything he can about playing the bass– that’s one of my playing idols and biggest influence on my technique. Maybe surprising given that this is a pop-punk rock group!There is no more pressure on us to be current or trendy than any other artist. It is the name of the game and we don’t mind. We make our marketing decisions on stretching out the momentum as much as possible. We balance that out by also saying, we can’t wait to do this, or do this. The time has to be now because tomorrow might be too late. Next month or two months from now may be too late.
Vinny: Jaco Pastorius’s ghost.
Just 5 minutes of him showing me everything he can about playing the bass– that’s one of my playing idols and biggest influence on my technique. Maybe surprising given that this is a pop-punk rock group!
Jon: If had 5 minutes with someone living right now it would be Aaron Gillespie.
He is my favorite musician! He plays drums and sings in the band Underoath, and also tours with Paramore as their drummer. If i had 5 minutes with someone not living it would be Michael Jackson. His music has inspired me, along with many others, to love others no matter what they look like, which is a very powerful message especially in today’s age.
Jon: Music companies are tasked with finding music
that fits everyone’s taste in music, and since there’s billions of people in the world some of those tastes have not been satisfied. Staying current is essential for a band because while the music of yesterday are classics, they are the past. Being current is something I think a lot of bands strive for because people have short attention spans and they are always looking for that new sound.
Carmen: As a group we try to be as positive and optimistic as possible.
We look at every show decline as “OK, we weren’t meant to play this show, YET!”. We try to see every show that we didn’t draw amazing at as a chance to mingle with and meet new fans. We try to see all of the no’s we face as not yet’s. We can’t write music about being positive if we can’t even be positive ourselves.
Vinny: I heard a White, female say this at a Black Lives Matters protest the other day,
and I think it’s extremely true and relevant in wake of the tragedies of recent times– it really touched me and stuck with me.
“Until we recognize that black lives matter, no lives matter.”
Jon: “I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways.” – Michael Jackson.
Carmen: I think a little bit of that comes from the whole “turning struggles into triumphs” thing.
If live is saying “you need to be sad you didn’t get this show!” or “you need to be sad that this company doesn’t want to sponsor you!” then you have let life win. Seeing everything as “not yet” helps with that. We know that we have the music, the drive, and the personalities to make it in the music industry. When God wants us to break down those doors or when those venues are calling back saying yes and not no, then we have hung in there. This industry beats a lot of people down. We need to say, “not us!” and we live that every day.
Carmen: Holy cow that is tough. Can I get 2? Paul McCartney.
He is in my mind the single greatest musician of all time. He touches so many lives, generations, countries all over the world with his music. The first CD I can remember listening to was the Sergeant Pepper album and it changed my life. My second is Tom DeLonge. I listened to Angels and Airwaves for the first time and heard the song “Rite of Spring” and I remember thinking, why can’t the whole wide world be mine? Since then I have committed my music to being a positive mission. Both of these guys have shaped my life and I would give anything to touch the lives of people in the way that they have!
Social Media Links:
Music Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XnDM63YyKQ