Blurred Vision is a talented 3-piece progressive leaning powerhouse rock band. They have just released a long awaited debut album entitled 'Organized Insanity'. It's a super collection of well written songs that flows nicely from start to finish. Not only do they have an endorsement from rock giant Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, they are signed to a worldwide distribution deal through Cherry Red Records. They have just completed a tour with the legendary Uriah Heep and their facebook page has more than 17K likes and rising daily. I recently corresponded with Sepp Osley from the group.
R.V.B. - Who were your favorite bands growing up and how did you and Sohl get started in music? You as the guitarist and Sohl as the bassist?
Sepp - To tell you the truth, growing up I was always into sports and being on the teams in school playing footie and basketball and all that athletics stuff. Sohl was always into the music world and him being the older brother, I was fortunate to have someone that would influence me musically with so many different styles of art from the great authors like Aldous Huxley and Hunter S. Thompson to poets like Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac. It was in the 90’s when I was just becoming old enough to appreciate what music really was. Rather than get into the music of the pop world that was starting to take hold in my school, and the awful boy and girl bands, I began to get introduced to Sohl’s collection of music from the past. The likes of Run DMC, Metallica, Public Enemy, Guns N’ Roses, and of course the classic rock which would shape us into who we became. Certainly Pink Floyd and The Beatles played the biggest role in that evolution.
I remember Sohl got into playing the guitar first. It was at school. He seemed to always be drawn towards music so it was natural for him. It was years later that that same guitar would become my gateway into the musical world. It had sat collecting dust for years and I was introduced by Sohl to a live video of Pink Floyd’s Delicate Sound Of Thunder tour, and watching the first image of the grand stadium show with David Gilmour, immersed in the lasers and lights while playing “Shine On…”, was indeed a definitive moment for me and for Sohl. I spent an entire summer learning to mimic what I saw on the tele with a stringless, broken down acoustic guitar. When we finally were able to get a pack of strings, I had already understood what the formations of many chords and structures would need to be. We had our first original song written a few days later! Sohl, had now been sucked into the gravitational pull of the bottom end and that was the beginning of our path to becoming artists and songwriters.
R.V.B. - Did you guys start playing covers first and what kind of songs did you play?
Sepp - No. We were always about expressing our own thoughts into songs we would create. Sure, we would learn music from our heroes and have fun playing to them. Essentially, this is the training we needed to become who we needed to become. But it was always about who we were and what we wanted/needed to say to the world right from the get go.
R.V.B. - When did you start writing your own songs and was it more of a challenge to play them live as opposed to covers?
Sepp - As I mentioned, the originals came first. We spent years playing with various amateur and up and coming musicians in schools and all ages bars, trying to get comfortable with the stage. We would play a cover to fill the time but mainly our own music. It was oddly enough more testing to play others music than our own. We have always been very comfortable in our own skin:)
R.V.B. - Did the song Organized Insanity lead to creating the concept to the album or did you have the idea from the outset.
Sepp - It certainly did. I remember Sohl and I we’re just heading out when a news story came out over the tele that was describing some insane story about Wall street and the wars that we were waging and his instant reaction to it was a quote that basically brought the entire album together. “We live in an organized insanity”. It was instantaneous when I heard him say those words that there was a song and an album behind something so powerful. Oddly enough, we were on our way to a cottage retreat and the song was written in the back of our closest mate’s van within the 90 minute drive. It’s really special when things like that happen and it tends to happen to us a lot in our songwriting process so we nurture it immediately, wherever we are. You never want that fleeting moment of inspiration to pass you by.
R.V.B. - The album has a wide variety of music and seems to flow nicely. Did you plan on having a nice mixture of prog, ballads and rockers?
Sepp - We don’t intend on anything really when it comes to the styles and approach to the songs. They’re written as they’re written and we simply tend to them in whatever shape they were born. It’s very organic yet the end result is quite a massive, polished sound. Having the legendary Terry Brown at the reins producing will help do that for you!
R.V.B. - How did Roger Waters find out about you guys?
Sepp - Well the story of Roger goes like this. We were in the midst of watching the Iranian uprisings against the rigged elections in 2009. Soul and I were in Toronto at the time and completely moved and inspired by what our fellow youth and peers were doing in that country thousands of miles away. It was the first time the true power of social media would shine and give us a glimpse of what Twitter and Facebook and Youtube can really achieve. That was the catalyst for all the social youth movements that came after from the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street and so many more we see today. youth of Iran really broke open the flood gates of the power of social media! I digress…
As we were seeing these horrific scenes flooding in and the constant coverage from news networks not knowing how to respond to so much unprecedented footage, we knew that the attention of the media on this unbelievably important moment would eventually begin to fade.We decided we had to do whatever we could to not let that happen and that is where the Floyd comes into the picture. It was the 30th anniversary of “The Wall”, it was also the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution that brought in the savage regime of the ayatollahs in Iran. As it had happened 30 years previously, young people would do everything they could to spread that album in secrecy as the regime had now banned music, especially Rock N’ Roll, which they have feared ever since their inception. We thought, how great it would be to awaken this beast of an anthem to scare that regime again and make as much noise as possible to keep the gaze of the world on the heroic acts of the youth, who were trying to topple the horrific regime of the Islamic Republic. We went into the studio with our producer Terry (Brown), and reworked the track with some amazing percussion work and samples that Terry had pieced together to give that Middle East pulse to the delayed guitar. The track literally took 2 days to record and mix and complete between us and that was the birth of what would go on to become a major musical moment in the timeline of modern history. Before we did anything further, we approached Roger’s team to get approval first for releasing it. Roger is our greatest hero so we did not want to move forward without his blessing. In true form, Roger blew our expectations away! He not only gave us permission but gave us the rights to the track as it was recorded. “Hey Ayatollah Leave Those Kids Alone” was now ours! We have been friends ever since and consider Roger a great mentor who not only supports our endeavour to reach the heights we are striving to reach on the global stage, but also gives us encouragement and endorsement which is not something many new bands can say so it is beyond just an honour to have the great man in our life.
R.V.B. - Where did you find drummer Ben Riley and did he have the same influences as you?
Sepp - Ben was introduced to us through Terry. It was the summer of 2010 now and we had just returned to Toronto from a 2 month long press run in London that absolutely made “Hey Ayatollah…” explode around the world!
Terry said to us, well lads, we need to put a band together and I think I know just the guy you need. Ben’s dad, the legendary organist and composer Doug Riley who accompanied the likes of Ray Charles and Bob Seger to name a few, had been long time business partners and close friends with Terry, and all grown up, Ben had become a massively sought after drummer amongst the session circuit, even touring with the great Canadian songwriter and activist Bruce Cockburn. Terry said to go and see him at this little club he was playing at in downtown Toronto and see what you think. It only took a few bars of one song before Sohl and I excitedly grinned at one another knowing we had found our man! We became brothers, truly, right off the first meeting. We were the same in so many ways and we each brought so much varied musical inspirations to the table but always knowing the end result was for the BV sound and the song. Ben grew up on Rock N’ Roll! Playing and learning drums to the likes of Van Halen and Rush, but he also got heavily involved in the world of Jazz and Soul and R&B/Funk, even studying for his Masters in composition.
The union the three of us have between one another is something we are so lucky to be a part of because of how clearly we see the end result needing to be and where we need to go.
R.V.B. - What is the music scene like in Canada? Is there plenty of places to play originals?
Sepp - Well, let’s not go there haha! Canada’s a great country with incredible music fans. We’re now based in London, UK so…All I can say about this question is we look forward to playing in front of our Canadian fans in the near future because they’re the reason we would be back in a heart beat.
R.V.B. - How was your experiences touring with the iconic Uriah Heep?
Sepp - Incredible!! I can’t express how monumentally fun it was for us to join these legends and how much we learned from them on the tour. We began as this unknown band on tour with the mighty Heep at the start, and ended with rave reviews and love from fans and journalists by the end and lucky to not only call the Heep heroes, but friends as well! Oddly enough, Rush played their first ever show as the band we know today, opening for Uriah Heep 41 years ago in the US, in promotion of their debut album produced by Terry Brown! An auspicious moment for us to say the least.
R.V.B. - To date, what do you think was your favorite live performance?
Sepp - That’s a tough one. We’ve been lucky to have played some pretty massive shows as a young new band. I have to say being the only Canadian band to have been invited to perform at the official Beatles 50th Anniversary Concert in New York City, at the historic Hudson Theater no less where Elvis performed on the same stage, was really jaw dropping. What was more incredible was the executive producer of the concerts wrote an unbelievable review of our performance declaring we had stolen the show! That moment will be etched in our memories for decades to come. Also, our last night on tour with the Heep at Koko in London was really a remarkable night. Seeing the reaction from fans at such an iconic venue was moving to say the least, and stepping on stage with the Heep and standing next to Mick Box while chanting on “Lady In Black”, well that’s pretty damn special!!
R.V.B. - Where do you guys rehearse and where was the record recorded?
We rehearse in various studios wherever we happen to be. “Organized Insanity” was recorded at Blue Sound and Music in Toronto, and Terry’s own recording studio in beautiful Muskoka.
R.V.B. - Do you add a keyboard player live sometimes?
Sepp - No, but that’s not to say that we won’t in the future, as well as a rhythm guitarist, percussionist, backup singers etc…The possibilities are endless with where we’ll be heading towards down the line.
R.V.B. - How did you come up with the name Blurred Vision?
Sepp - Well, Sohl did that. He was fixated on how inundated we are with advertisements and marketing and brands and news and what is true and what is disguised. He said, sometimes one must blur their vision to see things clearly, to see the truth, and poof, Blurred Vision was born.
Sepp - Having signed our deals with a great family of people who believe in what we’re doing and how far we want to go on the world stage, we are gearing up for a great deal of touring to promote the debut album and getting out to as many cities and countries as we possibly can to see our beautiful and amazing fans. Then we can head back into the studio to record album 2, which by the way, is already written and ready for an explosion to follow up our “Insanity”…
R.V.B. - Thanks for taking the time to answer questions
Sepp - My pleasure! It was lots of fun and on behalf of the entire band I say thanks for the love!
“On with the show!”
Interview conducted by Robert von Bernewitz
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