Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD. What type of artist are you? We describe ourselves as Alternative/Indie/Mainstream Rock from Baltimore, MD. Though, we live all around the area (Derek – Silver Spring, MD; Colleen – Frederick, MD; Chris – Manchester, MD; Ryan – Fairfield, PA). We also pull from a set of influences spanning rock, blues, and post-punk, their catalog consists of a diverse mix of well-crafted and energetic tunes
PD. Tell us the brief history of yourself. The first incarnation of the band started a little earlier around 2003 when our singer Ryan was serving in Iraq. Ryan’s friend Brad, (also serving in Iraq) was sent an old broken down acoustic guitar by his wife. He and Ryan fixed it up and wrote tunes to pass the time. When they returned home, Ryan and Brad linked up with another guitar player named Chris and Sepia was born. The acoustic guitar has always been staple in our songwriting process and a cornerstone of our sound. Most of our song ideas start out with an acoustic guitar riff of some sort whether they end up being acoustic based or not. Over time, as our song writing was evolving, we decided we needed some drums to keep us in time and that was when Derek came in (somewhere around 2006/2007). About the same time Brad left for other ventures and Sepia was once again a trio with Ryan splitting time between acoustic, bass and vocals. Then in 2009 we brought on Colleen to take over bass duties from Ryan and that takes us to the Sepia you hear today. It was about that time we also started experimenting with some of our other alternative/electric rock influences and really started concentrating on the songwriting process. By then we had a stockpile of originals so we took the show on the road and two albums later…here we are!
PD. Who are your musical and non-musical influences? We have a variety of influences like Nirvana, Weezer, and Faith No More…but with some other bands (new and old) thrown in for good measure (i.e. Husker Du, Alkaline Trio, and Dashboard Confessional).
PD. What are your dreams and goals? We have always enjoyed writing music together, and never really though ahead too far in the future. As long as we still enjoy writing and performing music, and continue to have good chemistry together, we will take a step-by-step approach to any and all opportunities.
PD. Who writes your songs, what are they about? Ryan (lead singer, guitars) writes the lyrics but prefers to leave themes up to the interpretation of the listener most times but there are definitely common threads on this album. Lyrically, there are a lot of analogies presented that draw connections between intangibles with objects in everyday life.
The songs start out as a simple guitar riff, chord progression, or a lyric. With everything being online these days, it’s really easy to spitball ideas back and forth until something sticks. Typically, Chris and Ryan will go back and forth and elaborate on the original idea and build a few verses around it. Derek has a knack for arranging so he will then jump in and get everything where it needs to be. Collen comes in at the end and works out the rhythm section with Derek to tie it all together. Though we write a lot of songs, we try to do something different in each song to make it interesting and unique…especially in the bridge. For Drop Dead, Gorgeous…, since we recorded it entirely on our own, we had the luxury of being able to play around with different ideas and sounds that we normally wouldn’t have had time if we were on the clock in someone else’s studio. We had fun experimenting with synths, strings, keyboards, and of course more cowbell!
PD. How do you promote your band and shows? Derek (drums, auxiliary percussion) is the “marketing guy”. He takes a simple reaching out and getting involved approach. We rely both on social media and traditional means like flyers and posters, and reaching out individually to people, and bug them to bring their friends to shows. Also, since we do not get to perform as much as we would like due to.. life mainly, we make each show an “event”. If it is not an event already, we host and invite bands we are friends with and enjoy, and make as good and fun of a music night as we can.
PD. What do you think about downloading music online? We have our new album, “Drop Dead, Gorgeous..” available on all major outlets, and also for free. By that, I guess we do not mind too much with the direction things have gone, as long as we have the opportunity to get our music out to as many people as possible!
PD. What song do you wish you’d written and why? Ryan has brought up “Party in the USA” as a song that is really well written, and maybe outside of our normal non-pop playlist of tracks we would normally listen to. Even though he got a lot of slack for saying that from the band, that might be a good example of something we might have wanted to write. It also have millions of hits so Miley did something right obviously!
PD. What are some of your pet peeves? It is really hard to get music out there because everything is so competitive. We genuinely wish there were more outlets like Pete’s Rock News and Views that were willing to help out bands that are just trying to get their stuff out there.
PD. What is your proudest moment in music? Probably finally getting “Drop Dead, Gorgeous..” released, after nearly 4 years of effort.. and actually liking the result! We worked really hard in post-production and taking the time to craft the songs to each of our satisfaction. We hope it comes off that way to the listener as well.
PD. So what are you working on at the moment? We are still busy! We are promoting DDG, working on a couple more music videos, trying to do a couple fun shows this summer, and are already recording tracks for our third album, which we are shooting for a release later this year.
PD. Tell us about your next shows and why we should be there. Our next “official” show is July 10 for an acoustical performance at Gashouse Radio. It will be available later on via podcast. They are unique in having those live acoustic performances be played on regular rotation during their normal broadcast. We really enjoy their radio station and podcasts, and are excited to take part.
Band location – Baltimore, Maryland
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