Middlesong to release an EP of quality prog music ahead of full album. Guitarist/vocalist Joe Schneider and keyboardist/guitarist Phil Tomczak have teamed up with legendary Yes member Billy Sherwood to produce a fine collection of well written songs. The EP features something for everyone, with a mixture of influences such as: Prog, Classic Rock, Folk, Americana and more. The title of the EP is called "Directions" which Phil explains "has to do with the paths that one can take in life and just living in general". The EP keeps your interest with songs that flow out of your speakers like a picturesque New York State waterfall. You'll want to visit it over and over. I recently asked Phil and Joe about the process of creating "Directions".
R.V.B. - Congratulations on your new EP release. What is the story behind the name of the group Middlesong and the name of the EP "Directions"?
A: The name is very simple – we gathered every Wednesday to write our songs – the middle of the week – middle-song. The name of the EP "Directions" comes from the song that we feel offers our strongest collaborative songwriting, "Directions in D Minor". Directions also seemed fitting as a title, because many of our song themes (more to come on our up and coming Album) have to do with the paths that one can take in life and just living in general.
A: We did very little in the way of planning, and really just let the songs evolve naturally. In fact, maybe that was our plan! We’ve both had various types of music influence us over the years, and we were happy to let them emerge as the songs unfolded.
R.V.B. - Speaking of influences... what kind of music were you guys brought up on?
A: Joe – I listened to a lot of The Beatles, Bad Company and the Doors, 70's gold-one-hit wonders, Southern Rock like Skynyrd and 38 Special, Tom Petty, Billy Joel and the Eagles. I was also a big fan of Prog rock bands Rush, Kansas, Genesis and Yes
A: Phil -- I started out as a child taking piano lessons, which grew into a love of classical music. The real kicker for me was hearing Rick Wakeman’s ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ on the radio in the 70s, it let me know the great potential for keyboards and rock music as a whole. Wakeman, Keith Emerson, and on the guitar side, Jim Croce and Steve Howe, are my biggest inspirations. And the Beatles, always.
A: We were very fortunate and thrilled to have Billy Sherwood, current bass player for the band YES and a well-respected producer, step in and produce our songs. He also added his own special touch by sitting in on bass and drums for us. Billy’s influence took our songs into a new direction, which we both love.
R.V.B. - Track 2 "Rain to Sun" has very lush vocals. How many sing on this? What's behind this title?
A: Joe sings all of the vocal parts on Rain to Sun. In addition to the main vocal, he sings a lower and a higher harmony – each of these harmonies was performed again to provide a doubling effect. It's a song about the ups and downs that occur in everyone's life. Whatever struggles you may face, try to be positive and look for the rain to end and the sun to rise. Bad things happen to good people – the rain does not choose where it falls – it falls equally on everything
A: The EP “Directions” was born at Middlesong Studios. We’re filling out our live band right now, and can’t wait to get these songs in people’s ears from onstage!
R.V.B. - In the D minor song... Were you guys going for a "sadder" type feel for it?
A: We did not plan it that way – we started with the opening notes of the main musical theme (G-A-D) on our acoustic guitars and the D minor chord fit quite naturally with that theme. We began building the remainder of the song around that theme and chord progressions within the key of D minor. We call it Directions in Dm, because we do take the song in a few different musical, progressive directions and key changes
A: Yes we’re working on a bunch of new songs as we speak to round out the album. More surprises are in store there for sure. “See This Through”, “Rain to Sun” and “Directions in D Minor (Make Sure That You Learn)” were so strong however, that we felt compelled to release them as an EP first.
R.V.B. - Good luck with the release of the EP.
A: Thanks! Folks can find us anywhere on the internet, or just hop on www.middlesong.com
Interview conducted by Robert von Bernewitz
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